It Came From The Book Store Part III

Coming in 2022 uhh…

My oh my, it’s been a while hasn’t it? A lot has happened since late November. But first let’s address the elephant in the room. Eagle-eyed readers took notice of a major announcement in my 15 year retrospective article posted one year ago that never materialized. By year’s end I wanted to launch an article highlighting my top 200 favorite Super Nintendo games. That obviously did not come to fruition. Aside from life’s craziness, my list wasn’t complete yet and I didn’t want to start throwing in titles for the sake of meeting a self-imposed deadline. The list’s status remains in the air, but it’s going down before all is said and done. But perhaps next time I’ll wait for it to be (almost) ready before I give y’all a heads up…

The year RVG was born
The year RVG was born

The good news is I’m still alive! And so is RVGFanatic, even if the updates in recent years have been way sparser than I would like. But hey, better late than never. My website quietly turned 16 years old last month. Crazy! Anywho, just to share briefly, in the past 2 months my son, wife and I all got COVID. We were OK for the most part but it was tough on my son (and thus, tough on us). He also got a nasty bout of RSV not long after. Seeing your poor precious baby in the ER hooked up on IVs at 4 in the morning is rough. Thankfully, the little guy is doing well now. In addition, my 103 year old grandma passed away in January. It was sad, but I’m glad she lived a great long life. I also take solace in the fact that her legacy and lessons live on through the rest of us.

What once was games now has become books
What once was games now has become books :P

A huge thank you to anyone reading this right now. That means you either randomly wandered here for the first time (highly unlikely haha) or you’re still checking in after all these years. That means a lot, especially since updates have been irregular for some time now. To be perfectly honest, for this first post of 2023 I wanted to review a Super Nintendo game for old times sake. It also would have doubled as a feeble attempt to make up for the lack of the top 200 article that was promised last year. But current passions won out. Therefore I’m sharing some of the books I bought during December instead. I hope you continue scrolling because there are some really cool comics, manga and graphic novels to gawk at. Some gnarly artwork for sure! Who knows, maybe you’ll see something that might strike your fancy enough to check out.



In mid December my wife and I drove 40 minutes out to a Disney store (they are dying in my area) to pick up a Minnie Mouse plush for my niece. After grabbing some delicious hotpot down the street, we hit up the nearby Half Price Books where I laid eyes upon this gorgeous tome. I had never heard of The Dylan Dog Case Files before. It held a hefty price tag of $50 ($45 after my teacher discount), but online it was going for a little more (and not always in the best condition). This copy was a bit nicked up but it wasn’t too bad. A perfect example of being in the right place at the right time. Assuredly, this collector’s item would soon have been snatched up by someone else had we not dropped in that fine evening!

Thick spines always catches my eye
I love thick spines and I cannot lie
Almost 700 pages split up of short stories
Almost 700 pages split up between 7 sinister stories
Love that gothic artwork!
Love that Italian gothic artwork!
I checked the website that night; it was still listed
I checked the website that night; it was still listed
Thank you Disney Store for leading me to this!
Thank you Disney Store for leading me to this!



Thankfully, MOST books sold at Half Price are typically 50% off its cover price. Take, for example, Zero’s Journey which retails for $19.99 but was had for under $10 after my teacher discount. It was a perfect pick up since it was nearing Christmas when I spotted it on the manga shelf.

Never liked the movie but like the characters
Never liked the movie but I like the characters
Feels like a natural extension of the film
Feels like a natural extension of the film



In late 2021 I bought the gorgeous Hellboy Omnibus Box Set. Mike Mignola is a genius and B.P.R.D. is part of the Hellboy universe. This particular set is an older edition (they have since released a sleeker edition with updated numbering), and it’s a bit beat up as you can see. But for half off, it was too good to pass up on. Plus anytime you can complete an arc or series in one go, you take it!

Story looks like a hell of a blast
Story looks like a hell of a blast



Last summer I picked up the oversized hardcover edition of The Boys. Never got around to buying volumes 2 and 3, though. So when I saw these paperback babies of volumes 2-6 (of 6), I couldn’t resist. (I’ll have to sell off the oversized omnibus volume 1 at some point). Again I got these for a little more than half off with my teacher discount. It was like $13 each instead of $70+ with the hardcover oversized editions. I know a lot of comic book collectors prefer the hardcovers but I don’t mind a softcover if the price is too good to pass up on!

Pretty dark stuff. His girlfriend got snuffed!
Pretty dark stuff. His girlfriend got snuffed!
Updated edition of B.P.R.D.
Updated edition of B.P.R.D.

Took this pic at Barnes & Noble. I saved so much money getting these at Half Price instead!



Imagine my thrill when back in December I spotted a gently used copy of Milestone Compendium One for $25.99. Best of all, I had over $150 store credit so I got it for “free.” Milestone is a beloved comic series from the 1990s. It retails for $59.99 and contains over 1,300 pages of ’90s goodness. Milestone Compendium Two just came out last week which I promptly picked up.


SOOO 1990s, ha!
SOOO 1990s, ha!



Created by Paul Chadwick, Concrete began its tale in the mid ’80s. At first glance it may appear to be yet another superhero story, but it’s anything but. Rather, it’s a very measured and nuanced story about a man whose entire body has been enveloped by pure concrete. This taxing scenario is examined in the most realistic and minute terms possible, right down to the kind of furniture needed. It’s a lonely slow burn that offers a contemplative read for any who have the patience to experience this very unique story.


One of the storylines is that people can send in letters asking for Concrete’s help. These noble endeavors allow Concrete to use his new unique body for the greater good of society. It’s essentially a slice-of-life comic.

One such letter
One such letter



Speaking of more quiet slice-of-life stories, I’ve had my eye on Himawari House by Harmony Becker ever since it was released in late 2021. Finally came across a used copy for under $10 and eagerly snatched it up.

I love these coming-of-age tales
I love these coming-of-age tales
Color would have been nice, but BW is cool too
“Fish out of water” stories are always a blast to read



Equally as satisfying as finding a long wanted title for half off its cover price is the thrill of discovering something cool you never knew existed. The Dream of the Butterfly has MAJOR Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki vibes. The cover already had me sold but once I glanced inside, it only took all of 3 seconds for me to throw it into my basket!

Serious Spirted Away vibes
Serious Spirted Away vibes



Perhaps best known for his Giant Days series, John Allison has quite a fan following in the comic book community. His comics are vibrant, funny and just plain zany. When I saw this cute pocket edition of Bad Machinery, a series unbeknownst to me prior, it was an easy instant buy.

The vibrant art really jumps off the page
The vibrant art really jumps off the page



Alright, enough of that cutesy shit! Here is AX, an out of print book that features many different manga artists and some controversial stories to say the least!

Shit gets weird fast
Shit gets weird fast
Both the art and story quality vary
Both the art and story quality vary



I own all 8 of the original B&W editions, but will be upgrading to this fancy full color collection. I haven’t read it yet but this series looks like a creepy blast.

And now its oversized and in full living color
And now it’s oversized and in full living color



Discovered this webcomic and like Bad Machinery it comes in these cute pocket editions. It’s about a co-ed college dorm and its dysfunctional inhabitants. There are currently 11 pocket books available, and the series continues to be published on the artist’s website.

Looks pretty fun!
Examines the light and dark side of college dorm life



Speaking of webcomics, one random day in December I randomly ran across two shorter but thick ass black spines. It simply said SORCERY 101 with the volume number. I found out it was the complete webcomic series and in the basket it went. Did I mention that I love thick spines as well as pocket editions? Which is ironic when you think about it, because none of these pocket editions would fit in anyone’s pocket except for Godzilla.

Intriguing plot
Intriguing plot
Love the artwork! Took a blind gamble on this one
Love the artwork!



This haunting autobiographical memoir by Kate Beaton has attracted a ton of praise. This typically isn’t my sort of thing but this 400+ page memoir was only $18 (retail price $40). So why the hell not, y’kno?

The greys reflect the dark story held within
The bleak greys reflect the dark story held within



Another autobiographical memoir. Hey didn’t I just say these aren’t my sort of thing? First off, the cover and spine is beautiful and eye catchy. Second, the true story sounds pretty interesting. The Pacific Crest Trail runs 2,660 miles, from California’s border with Mexico to Washington’s border with Canada. To walk it is to undertake a grueling test of body and spirit. This autobiographical work from an Irish visitor to the United States recounts the author’s own attempt to walk the length of the USA’s west coast. It mixes prose with art. Pretty fascinating!

Good stuff
Art is simplistic yet somehow quite striking



Back to the fantastical! Head Lopper & The Island (or A Plague of Beasts) looks like balls to the wall madness. I mean, our hero carries around a decapitated witch head that still speaks! Citizen Kane? No. A must read? Absolutely.

Plus the art looks pretty badass too
Plus the art looks pretty badass too



Dark Horse is one of my favorite publishers. Anytime I see their logo with that stylized black horse on a particularly thick spine I always get a little bit excited. This trade paperback, released in late 2021, contains 300+ pages of horror content from a variety of writers and artists, with good ol’ Mike Mignola (of Hellboy fame) getting top billing. As with any anthology, there are hits and misses to be sure. The whole thing is pretty sleek looking and feels great in your hand. Can’t wait to read it eventually.

Nice thing too is you get to see different art styles
Nice thing too is you get to see different art styles
Some nightmare fuel for sure!
Some nightmare fuel for sure!



Speaking of nightmares, how about My Friend Dahmer, a graphic novel highlighting the author’s high school encounters with future serial killer, Jeffrey Dahmer. Derf Backderf (his parents had balls of steel to use half of his last name for his first name) went to Revere High School in Ohio with Dahmer, and recounts his experiences with a teenage Dahmer in the late ’70s in the Midwest. This book received a boatload of praise for how bold and unique it was. What are the odds that a cartoonist was friends with Dahmer growing up? And would, decades later, recreate those high school years of Dahmer? Another run-of-the-mill fantasy or coming-of-age tale regurgitated for the 1,000th time this ain’t!

The back cover is super cool
The back cover is super cool
It feels immediately nostalgic and haunting...
It feels immediately nostalgic and haunting…



And now for something a lot more lighthearted. And it doesn’t get much more lighthearted than the adventures of Billy Johnson and his crazy talking duck friend.

Some befriended Dahmer. Others, a duck?!
Some people befriended Dahmer. Others, a duck?!



Dungeon Critters is a colorful graphic novel with an RPG feel. This is the kind of stuff I would have loved if I were a kid. Hell, I guess I still do! But yeah, check out the artwork and colors on this bad boy. They’ve come so far with books. We didn’t have graphic novels like this back in the ’80s and ’90s!

Ooooh... ahhh...
It’s like a Super Nintendo RPG come to life!



Never heard of Stonebreaker before. It seems to be your typical coming-of-age fantasy adventure. A mysterious world filled with talking creatures, check. A plucky protagonist, check. Danger lurking behind every corner, check. But the different shades of color used section by section is pretty damn neat. Good enough for a relatively blind buy!

Looks like an adventure one can get lost in
Looks like an adventure one can get happily lost in



From the man, the myth and the legend himself, Osamu Tezuka! Storm Fairy, a short story collection, is not one of his better known works such as Astro Boy, Black Jack or Phoenix. But I am a simple man. I see Tezuka, I buy Tezuka.

Tezuka's considered by many as the father of manga
Tezuka’s considered by many as the “father of manga”



Over the decades I’ve heard of Robotech here and there, but I never took time to explore it any further. It’s beloved by many westerners living in America back in the ’80s who remember Robotech fondly as one of their earliest exposures to the world of anime and Japanese style comics. Seeing the beautiful nostalgic cover in the store for half off made for a no brainer buy.

So many cool comics, so little time!
So many cool comics, so little time!



You can’t talk about robots in the world of anime and manga without mentioning Gundam. And here’s a huge 550+ page tome that depicts the journey of the men responsible for the birth of Gundam.

We salute you, fine gentlemen
We salute you, fine gentlemen



This beautiful 500+ page hardcover sat in the locked glass counter near The Men Who Created Gundam. I already own some of Moto Hagio’s work and I consider myself a fan. The artwork is always so interesting.

Fantastic stuff
This was first published in the early ’70s



Got the complete omnibus set of Sweet Blue Flowers. I love the quality and feel of these volumes. They’re so wonderfully produced. These are the kind of books that get snatched up fast… within days if not hours. They fly off the shelves like screaming bats out of hell. Always feel so lucky when I spot manga such as this in the wild…

Sit back and admire the details here for a bit
Feels so timeless, does it not?



Let’s end this article with a BANG and take a sweet gander at my first buy of 2023! I’ve never played the Witcher games before. But I’ve heard a ton of praise surrounding the comics. So imagine my joy when I spotted this big, beautiful hardcover standing tall and proud in the locked glass counter. Best of all, it was half off at $24.99. After applying my 10% teacher discount, I got it for just under $25 out the door. What a deal!

Simply magnificent
Simply magnificent


I am so Jerry here, and Jerry is so me
I am so Jerry here. Love my compendiums!

December 2022 was an amazing month full of glorious finds. I’ve bought a few more since then that I will share another time in part IV. But yeah, whether it’s something I’ve had my eye on for some time or perhaps I’ve stumbled into something badass I never knew existed — the thrill and allure of the book store always seems to beckon me back. Anyway, thanks as always for dropping by. Let me know in the comments below if there was one manga, comic book or graphic novel in particular that resonated with you for whatever reason. I’d love to hear your thoughts! Alright, until next time, take care and a belated happy 2023! I wish all of you the best.

Love me some compendiums and deluxe editions!
Where were these when I was a kid?!

8 thoughts on “It Came From The Book Store Part III”

  1. Welcome back!

    Based on a lot of your book posts, I’d love to see your thoughts on Bone, Nausicaa, and the graphic novel Maus. They all seem like they’d be up your alley.

    And still excitedly waiting for the day the top 200 list comes out! It’s definitely better to take your time so you have a more thought out list, so don’t let yahoos like me make you feel pressured into rushing things.

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Logan! Appreciate that. Oh man, Bone, Nausicaa and Maus I all own, haha. They’re just a super looooong TBR (to be read). I’m not lying when I say too many interesting reads and not enough time. The Bone series looks like a fun colorful kid series but I hear it can be enjoyed by adults even. An all ages sort of saga. Love when something appeals to kids but can be equally enjoyed by adults. That tells me it’s pretty deep, or at least, extremely well made. I just picked up Rasl, another work from the Bone creator, Jeff Smith. Maus is said to be one of the most important graphic novels ever made, so I’m excited to see what the hype is all about. And Nausicaa… I have that beautiful hardcover deluxe two volume set. Can’t go wrong with Miyazaki. What are some of your favorite books/manga/comics?

    1. OMG Rob! What’s up old friend! Sorry, I literally just read your comment for the first time on March 1, 2024, lol. I’ll email you from my personal email account. Catch you there.

  2. Hi Steve, welcome back – whenever I have a little downtime I love browsing your site and seeing what you’re up to. I wrote years ago to say how much I loved you writing style and you’re still going strong – even with the family! Great that you’re still finding time in your life for your passions. Keep it up. And keep writing when you can.

    All the best from the other side of the world.

    1. Hello Jon! Wow, I just read your comment (which you wrote on 9/15/23) on 2/5/24 and am only now responding. Please excuse my extreme delay. I kid you not, when I read your comment only moments ago, my comment section had 10,000 more to sift through. 99.5% of it is spam though, so I was just weeding through it trying to catch the legit comments. And you absolutely made my day! Sadly, I haven’t kept it up much lately but as you can see, I’m back in the new year and hope to update at least monthly going forward. Hell, I even have my first game review lined up for the first time in who knows how long! Years, certainly, haha. Anyway, thank you so much for the kind words. It truly touched me that my work over the years have somehow entertained you and given you some small matter of joy. I can’t believe ol’ RVGFanatic just turned 17 a couple weeks ago. January 2007 feels like another lifetime ago, ha! Take care and all the best to you as well :)

  3. Nice to see RVG/Steve on the word wide web. I would almost want to introduce you to the (expensive) burgeoning world of board games (which is currently trying to enter GameFAQs’ database).
    If you’re ever visiting the coastlines of the US, I volunteer for various nerd events and we often have leftovers or wacky guest stories. (Tomino Yoshiyuki can publish a book of snarky quips and drunken philosophies for every year he does fan conventions.)

    1. Hello Pako! Apologies for the super delayed response, lol. But I truly appreciate you taking a moment to leave me a message, even if I only just now got around to reading it. My wife and I actually have a decent sized board game collection, but we always end up playing the same small handful: Monopoly Deal, Gizmos, Splendor, Jaipur, Camel Race, and Crystal Golems. Cheers!

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