Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Eternal Starscream of the Spotless Pantalones

When I was a kid living in El Paso my grandma would go to Juarez a lot and sometimes she'd come back with Marvel comics in Spanish. She never brought back Transformers issues but I still have an old copy of El Asombroso Hombre Araña she got me once. Based on my grandma's comic runs and my own experience I don't think the Marvel Transformers were ever released in comic form in Mexico. I was tangentially aware thanks to Transformers MegaWeb that Spanish versions did come out in Spain. The company that published the Marvel books over there was called Forum. Years ago I'd downloaded some of those old comics but aside from that I never really paid attention them because they were pretty much direct translations of the US books with no alterations aside from the language they were in. Well about two months ago something happened that made me wish I would have paid a lot more attention. If I'd have known life was going to actually test me on my time goofing off downloading Spanish robot comic books I would have estudiado'ed harder.


Back in March I was in Miami visiting a comic store I only rarely go to because it's really far, far away (not unlike Tatooine). Coincidentally, the place is kind of a dump and navigating through the mess is only slightly less chaotic than being devoured by a Sarlaac. But they've always got some crazy awesome stuff for people willing to blow some time and possibly risk a limb or two. (As one reviewer wrote-just make sure you're up to date on your shots.) So I was looking through all their stuff when I came across two gigantic piles of comics from Spain and Finland and wouldn't you know it, they had a nearly complete run of Forum's Transformers. It was interesting to hold these in my hands but I didn't really care much because like I said, for the most part they're direct translations of the US material. And then it happened-I came across an issue unlike all the others. It was Forum's issue #46. For their version of US issue #50 they cut that book in half and printed it over two issues. This resulted in original cover art for their issue #46 which contained the first half of US 50. It's actually a panel from inside issue 50 just blown up and embellished a bit to make a cover out of it. It's quite possibly the only 'original' cover art in the entire Spanish run. I didn't know anything else about it but I thought it was awesome. If I had found out about it sooner I would have been better prepared. Sometimes I run across stuff that's new to me and I get all excited and blow more money than I should, then I go home to Google it and find it's not all that special. I was in a scenario worse than what Boba Fett found himself in during the opening of Return of the Jedi with a billion questions about this comic and no access to Wikipedia! Was this comic worth a tryptzillion dollars or could it be had on eBay for dirt cheap? What should I offer this guy for it and was that a Sarlaac tentacle that just touched my foot?


I held it in my hand and savored the moment. I knew it wouldn't last because the owner left for lunch and getting a price out of the other guy left to man the store would be impossible without the owner's approval. So I waited and waited but after an hour the owner still wasn't back. I knew exactly what would happen. I couldn't stay there forever so I went home and when I called back later someone had already bought all of the Spanish Transformer books. Then I searched online and found no record of it on the Wikipedias. I was sure nobody in the Transformernerdverse would ever believe (or care) much about my story about an alternate cover that only appeared in the Spanish version of issue 50 which was actually numbered 46. Luckily I can't imagine how it would ever pop up in conversation anyways. So yeah it sucked but I found the scans I downloaded on my hard drive and sure enough there was issue 46. I'll probably never see that book again in my life but at least I have some proof it exists. Also on the plus side, I made it out of the Sarlaac pit of comic book stores alive and I didn't blow any money on an impulse buy. As El Asombroso Hombre Araña would say, "Con un gran comic book de Roboplasticons viene un gran waste of money in mis pantalones."

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