In late July, I shot an email to Albany’s Earthworld Comics, asking that a copy of the Robin King variant cover of Dark Nights: Death Metal 3 by Riccardo Federici be pulled for me if any were available when the book arrived. The regular series, with incredible interior art by the Capital Region’s own Greg Capullo, is on my pull list at the store. However, given the hype surrounding the introduction of the Robin King, I was interested in grabbing a copy of the Federici cover as well. I had missed the Final Order Cutoff for the variant, so made no assumptions or held any expectations that I would actually get a copy.
On August 11th, Earthworld owner J.C. Glindmyer responded to my emailed request for the book with, “You’re covered, my friend.” Last Friday (August 21, 2020), I had the time to swing by the store to pick up a handful of books pulled for me over the last two weeks, including the Death Metal 3 Robin King variant. When checking out, I found out that I was being comped the book. As you can see in the featured pic, I was given the book for my support of the store during the pandemic. While the issue may have only cost Earthworld a couple of bucks, it is selling for up to $30 in stores and online, so they did sacrifice potential revenue by giving me a copy. I sincerely appreciate this gesture, and offer my thanks to Earthworld in return.
As collectors are well aware, the last several months have been a crazy time for the comics industry due to the COVID-19 Crisis, as evidenced by temporary or permanent store closures, ceased publication or distribution of new comics, and more. Through it all, Earthworld remained operational, offering email/phone ordering, and curbside pick-up when “non-essential” businesses were not permitted to open.
During the weeks when new comics weren’t being published/distributed, Earthworld made lists available of what they had in stock. From those lists, I was able to place curbside pick-up orders for some comics that I previously had not been reading/collecting, as well as some trade paperbacks, and bags and boards. While the economy will likely be volatile for quite some time, to date I have been fortunate that my family’s income has not been affected by the pandemic. Accordingly, I thought it important to continue my support of the shop, which was being impacted in so many ways, including Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Orders which closed non-essential businesses, to the aforementioned halt of comics distribution.
From a collectors perspective, some of the highlights of comics I bought from Earthworld via curbside pick-up during the pandemic are the Ryan Stegman variant cover of Thor 4, Ruins of Ravencroft: Carnage 1 (which is heating up as the first appearance of Cortland Kasady) Star Wars Bounty Hunters 1, and more. Each of the books that I mentioned has been/will be submitted to CBCS for grading. The Thor variant and Bounty Hunters issue were/will be submitted for their private signings with with Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman, and Lee Bermejo, respectively. Ruins of Ravencroft: Carnage was submitted to be pre-screened as a 9.8. If it makes the cut, it will be graded and encapsulated. If found to be below a 9.8, it will be shipped back to me ungraded.
For entertainment value, my top pandemic curbside pick-up purchase from Earthworld unquestionably was the Invaders Classic Complete Collection VOL 01, which collects GIANT-SIZE INVADERS #1, INVADERS (1975) #1-22 and ANNUAL #1, MARVEL PREMIERE #29-30, and AVENGERS (1963) #71. This TPB let me re-experience the wild super-heroes vs Nazi stories crafted by Roy Thomas that I loved as a kid in the 1970’s. In fact, I still have my copy of Invaders #1 that I bought when I was seven years old. With VOL 01 read and on the shelf, I’ll have to pick-up VOL 02 from Earthworld to finish my re-read of this classic series.
I provided the preceding discussion of my curbside purchases not to show off what I picked up, but rather to illustrate that continued support of Earthworld also benefited me during the pandemic. At a time when few other entertainment options were available, I was still able to buy and read comics. I wasn’t able to go to the gym, movies, concerts, sporting events, or even out to dinner, but through Earthworld’s efforts, I was able to continue enjoying this hobby. While J.C. gave me a copy of the Death Metal Robin King issue as a thank you for supporting Earthworld during the pandemic, I offer my sincere thanks back to him and the rest of the store’s crew, not only for the book, but for their efforts to provide some level of normalcy and continuity during these crazy times.
For more info on Albany New York’s Earthworld Comics, check out the store’s website and Instagram linked below.