The World At War

You could say I’m a bit of a worrier. And you could say I’ve been a bit of a worrier since I was a child. And you would be right. It’s something I do. I’m good at it.

I have gotten much better at not allowing my worrying to keep me from sleeping. (Most of the time.) When I was a kid, though, I could get to worrying about something and that could making falling asleep difficult. I mostly worried about going back to school after summer vacation, winter or spring break, long weekends. I don’t remember why I would be worried, I just was.

Those occasions of sleeping difficulties would mainly happen on Sunday nights. And if I was feeling as though sleep wouldn’t come, I dreaded a certain sound. And that sound was the closing music of the landmark British World War II television documentary series The World At War (1973-1974).

It was sometime in the mid-1970s that The World At War begin airing on American television and my mother would watch it each Sunday night. It would come on at 11:00 and end at midnight. If I was still awake as the show ended, it would be a difficult night. And I won’t even mention how troubling it would get if I heard the closing theme of The Honeymooners, the show that would follow.

All that is in the past.

Today, I own the DVD set. It contains the entire 26 episodes of the series and a boatload of extras. There are 11 discs in all.

The World At War wasn’t the first TV documentary of the war. There were others before it. On American television, there was NBC’s Victory At Sea (1952-1953). That series also had 26 episodes, however these were half hour shows. And Victory was made closer to the actual events and that may be why it feels much more rah-rah than The World At War.

Victory has no interviews. It consists of archival footage and narration, and a very heroic, flag-waving musical score by Richard Rodgers. The music gets tiring and the series has the feel of pro-America propaganda. It also seems to glamorize war. Not overly so, but the rah-rah quality, the hooray for the Allies (which, yes, hooray for the Allies) attitude makes the series feel like a naval recruitment pitch. No wonder the US Navy was so willing to give full cooperation.

The World At War, other the other hand, is careful to make war look like what it is – ugly. War is horrifying. It’s destruction and devastation. It’s insane. War is hell (you can quote me on that). And The World At War makes that abundantly clear as it chronicles the power-hungry fascist dictators wreaking havoc in Europe, Northern Africa, China, and the Pacific.

The musical score for The World At War was composed by Carl Davis. It’s brilliant. It gives the series the proper seriousness that subject requires, while not glamorizing war in any way.

Also, brilliant is the narration provided by acting legend Sir Laurence Olivier. His narration sets the tone for the series in the cold open of episode one – A New Germany:

“Down this road, on a summer day in 1944, the soldiers came. Nobody lives here now. They stayed only a few hours. When they had gone, the community, which have lived for a thousand years, was dead.”

That’s heavy. Olivier strikes the perfect note of solemnity. This series is not going to be rah-rah.

Like Victory At Sea, there is lots of archival footage. But, unlike Victory, the World At War has lots of interviews of the people involved. From citizens to journalists to soldiers, sailors, and airmen to generals, admirals, and world leaders. From both sides of the war.

The input of people who were there may be 30 years after the fact (and memory isn’t video tape), but it is tremendously powerful. Quite often we are shown archival footage of the younger versions of those being interviewed. We get to hear from military leaders to get their insights on the decision making and strategies. And there is only one historian, Stephen Ambrose, who is interviewed late in the series.

The most intriguing contributors, for me, are the Germans. We hear from ordinary citizens about how Germany was caught up in a kind of hysteria as Hitler provided victory after victory early in the war. And then how terrifying it was to live under that regime. The series interviews the highest ranking Nazi who was still alive and had served his time in prison: Albert Speer. They even interviewed Hitler’s secretary Traudl Junge, who worked for the Nazi dictator in those last days in the bunker and took down his final statement. Fascinating!

If you haven’t watched this series, seek it out. Some of the episodes are on YouTube. You’ll find the first one here.

Nowadays, when I watch the series, I usually watch it at about the same time of night my mother used to watch it. And, ironically, I’m so familiar with the series I tend to doze off until the closing theme plays. Then I wake up and go to bed.

Packing Peanuts!

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Warehouse Find is the official blog of, where you can find books, games, toys, cards, and a huge selection of Golden, Silver, Bronze, and Modern Age comic books. Jim also has a podcast called Dimland Radio. He’d love it if you checked it out. It’s available on iTunes.



Nostalgia Zone sells old comic books. We sell other items including model kits, games, toys, action figures, and so on; but mainly we sell old comic books. We buy old comic books (and the newer ones, we don’t discriminate) from folks willing to depart with their treasures.

We aren’t sure exactly when this happened, but we purchased a collection that turned out to contain a mystery. It wasn’t noticed right away, but that collection was loaded with comic books with a particular bit of defacement. Written on the covers of so many books was the simple word “Toot.”

It might be written in marker. It might be in pen. Sometimes it would be written more than once on a cover. The word shows up mostly on Gold Key Comics titles, but Charlton and DC also get Tooted. So far I’ve only found one Marvel title that got the Toot treatment.

It’s not uncommon for younger collectors to write their names on their comics. Sometimes we’ll find dates stamped on the covers. But Toot? Who or what is Toot?

The probable explanation seems to be that some comic collector had the nickname of Toot and they decided to tag their books with it. However, I’d really like to find out just what Toot means and why someone decided to write on their comics.

Do you know Toot? Who was it? What was it?

It’s a mystery.

This one has two Toots.
The Pink Panther hooks a Toot.
Pebbles. Bamm-Bamm. Toot.
Star Trek
Star Trek gets a cosmic Toot.
Brave Bold
A brave and bold Toot for Batman and Joker.
The finger points the way to Spidey’s Toot.
Shazam! That’s an expensive Toot!

Packing Peanuts!

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Warehouse Find is the official blog of, where you can find books, games, toys, cards, and a huge selection of Golden, Silver, Bronze, and Modern Age comic books. Jim also has a podcast called Dimland Radio. He’d love it if you checked it out. It’s available on iTunes.


Modernized Archie Has A Great Cover


In 2015, Archie Comics got a modernizing make-over. The stories brought in line with the times having more sophisticated storylines and characterizations. The books took on a greater emotional impact, while still providing some laughs.

Along with modernized stories and characters came modernized art. It had been changing for some time, but for decades Archie Comics had a look. A singular look. A style that rarely deviated no matter who was drawing. The characters each had to be drawn a specific way.

From title to title the look did not vary. Except in gradual ways. The very early Archie books of the 1940s differed in their look from those of the ’50s and ’60s, but within each time period, across titles, there was a specific look.

This was part of the reason Archie never interested me when I was a kid. I liked the way Marvel Comics and DC Comics allowed artists to express their individual styles. There may have been trends that gave a commonality to the various titles, but still artists’ individuality shone through. Besides, I liked reading about superheroes, I wasn’t interested in a bunch teenage kids. Unless they had super powers.

Eventually, Archie Comics allowed for individual artists’ styles to be employed in their titles. And that certainly can be seen in this month’s great cover (Archie #4 – January, 2016). The artist is Annie Wu. The Grand Comics Database lists her as doing the pencils and the inks. There is no information as to who colored the cover. That’s a shame because the coloring is a large part of what makes this a cover great. I would like to give that artist credit. Kudos, whoever you are.

There’s a fashion sketch art quality to the line work and the color. It’s not as cartoony as one thinks of when thinking of Archie, Betty, Jughead, Veronica, and the gang from Riverdale. These kids are real, well, as real as can be in comic book form. But the drawing isn’t photo-realistic. There’s a naturalness to the simplicity of Wu’s linework.

The coloring is great. I like the layered, marker-like coloring of Veronica’s purple pants. Please make note of that hint of blue sky in the breaks of clouds. Terrific touch. And that tree is wonderful. No black lines to define it. Just flat blocks of color, with some gradation, to give it a natural feel.

I like the angle, too.

There are a few variant covers for this issue. But I prefer this one.

Packing Peanuts!

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Images used under Fair Use.

Warehouse Find is the official blog of, where you can find books, games, toys, cards, and a huge selection of Golden, Silver, Bronze, and Modern Age comic books. Jim also has a podcast called Dimland Radio. He’d love it if you checked it out. It’s available on iTunes.

’80s Music: You Have Yours, I Have Mine

Echoing the sentiments of my blog from last month My Awesome ’80s Mix Tape, guest blogger Michael Noble returns with a discussion on want comes to his mind when thinking of “’80s music.” Michael is a man after my own heart, although I will add that living in the Twin Cities in the ’80s and not having KROQ meant I had to work a little harder to find the cool stuff.

Not so suddenly one evening while playing cards with friends (the game being played was Hand and Foot, if you need to know), the discussion took a hard left turn and the subject got serious real quickly. “’80s Music” got tossed into the mix of chatter. It took this turn because there were ’80s strains coming out the living room speakers.

In this household, it’s a subject that elicits two and a half times the opinions as people in the room. I may be winging it (but I’m not) in stating there are so many diverse interpretations of ’80s music the subject in and of itself could last an entire evening and still not come to any definitive conclusions on what, exactly, it constitutes.

Has there ever been an era of music so disparate? I don’t think so.

Hall & Oates and the ’80s Mullet

Example: Hall and Oates “Maneater” came thumping into the room and just about everyone sitting at the table began bobbing their heads to the beat. I mean … is there a song any more indicative of the ’80s than that one? Well, of course there is. Ask anyone to name a tune from the time period and you won’t get the same response twice.

But here’s the thing: To me, ’80s music isn’t the same thing as it is to most. Ask me to name a band from the time and you’ll get responses like Icicle Works, Magazine, X, Cocteau Twins, The Cult, Jean Loves Jezebel, Peter Murphy, Public Image Ltd, The Sugarcubes, The Jesus And Mary Chain, Love And Rockets, and Dramarama to shoot a quick dozen off the top of my head. And that’s not taking into account the obscure bands tucked away in the recesses of my mind…

Now, the average person might very well blather “What?!? Who?!? I’ve never even heard of most of those bands.” And that’s the usual response. “Where’s The Pretenders? The Police? Cyndi Lauper? Michael Jackson? AC/DC? Foreigner? Bon Jovi?” And yes, of course, those are ’80s bands. Just not the ones I grew up with or point to as indicative of the day.

bon jovi
Bon Jovi – So much hair, so little else of interest.
Rodney and his ’80s hair.

I grew up in Southern California during my formative years, right on through the late ’90s. Musically speaking that meant I was weaned on Pasadena’s World Famous KROQ at 106.7 FM. With punk and new wave music beginning to raise its head in the late ’70s, KROQ was the perfect vehicle for showcasing bands geared toward those genres. And it was none other than notable disc jockey Rodney Bingenheimer who championed bands like The Ramones, The Runaways, Stray Cats, The Go-Gos and others. By the 1980s – with the station right smack dab in the middle of the Los Angeles music market (not to mention Hollywood and its influence with the burgeoning music scene) – KROQ was one of the most influential radio stations in broadcast history. I specifically remember Bingenheimer introducing me to the aforementioned The Jesus And Mary Chain and Dramarama.

Naturally, and in retrospect, I consider myself fortunate to have been in L.A. during the time, able to tune into KROQ whenever I wanted, day or night. With modern music exposed freely – and especially the New Wave movement (not to leave out Rodney’s popular late night shows) – it was little wonder my ’80s tastes gravitated to the peculiar rather than the mainstream.

Sure, I enjoyed ZZ Top, Pat Benatar, and Hall And Oates and their hits just the same as the rest of the country. But the real meat and potatoes was the left of center, strange arrangements and unexpected, little-played stuff performed by bands only college students were listening to.

Bauhaus Posed
Bauhaus almost making mullets cool. Almost.

Given the choice of ’80s music, I’ll take Sigue Sigue Sputnik, Bauhaus, and The Vapors over mainstreams such as Madonna and Journey any day of the week… and twice on Sunday.

Thanks, Michael! You can read more by Michael Noble at

“Two Down, Four To Go”


The world received the sad news of the death of actor/writer/filmmaker/historian Terry Jones a couple days ago, so I decided to interrupt my January hiatus (unannounced, sorry about that) to throw in my few cents worth.

It was sometime in 1974, when PBS television stations across America began playing a very strange, very British sketch comedy program. A story a friend of mine tells of his first encounter with the show is of his father gathering the family around the TV console to watch a new (to America) comedy show from England. The company his father worked for at the time was sponsoring the show, so he figured the family ought to check it out. 30 minutes later there were two adults baffled by what they just witnessed and three kids, my friend and his sisters, completely on board. It was silly, irreverent, and the parents didn’t get it. What’s not to love?

My early recollection of the program was that sometimes women’s boobs could be seen. Even at that tender age, I must have been about ten, I took great interest in those bumps on women’s chests. Any show that would put boobs on display and was silly and funny just had to go onto my regular television viewing list.

I didn’t get everything at first. It was very British and that meant certain references wouldn’t be understood by Americans, especially American kids. However, over the years more and more of the brilliance of the show became apparent to me. The troupe of actors/writers and one cartoonist were educated, intellectual (the cartoonist maybe not so much of an intellectual, but he’s a cartoonist, what are ya gonna do?), and more than willing to attack every convention and institution, all while being completely silly and ofttimes in drag.


The troupe was Graham Chapman (who died in 1989), John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin. They all came from other British TV comedy shows, through which some met and worked together. Eventually everything led to the six of them getting a comedy sketch show of their own. It was called Monty Python’s Flying Circus (1969-1974). The men would write and perform on what would become the greatest TV comedy sketch program of all time. (Hyperbole!)

Embarrassing fact: When I first started watching the show, I thought John Cleese was Monty Python. He seemed to have the most authority. And he was the tallest. “I’m six foot five!” What else was I gonna think?

spam_waitressEach member of the troupe could play the everyman (or woman) and the voice of authority. They could be the gentleman and the creep. Jones played the everyman (or woman) and creeps very well. He was Arthur “Two Sheds” Jackson and the man with three buttocks. He was the flasher who was fully clothed under that trench coat, but he had the look of a masher and a sign which read “Boo!” hanging around his neck. He was the completely innocent fellow wanting to to go for a swim at the beach, but couldn’t find anywhere to get undressed, until he ended up on a stage with an appreciative audience. “It’s a man’s life taking your clothes off in public.”

In their film Monty Python’s The Meaning Of Life (1983), he was Mr. Creosote, a man so large and with an appetite so voracious he literally ate until he exploded. He was Prince Herbert in Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), who just wanted… to… sing… “Stop that! Stop that!” Also in Holy Grail, he was Sir Bedevere the Wise, the knight who knew the best way to determine whether or not a woman was a witch. And he was Brian’s mother in Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979). “He’s not the messiah, he’s a very naughty boy!”

a75ea56f7f2f49d5baadda5d348909f8--fairy-dust-fantasy-artJones not only performed and wrote for Python, he also stepped behind the camera to co-direct with Terry Gilliam the Holy Grail and direct Life of Brian and The Meaning of Life. Later and apart from Python, Terry Jones would write and host several history documentaries for British television. And he was the author of many books. I especially loved his idea of a children’s book. He produced one called Lady Cottington’s Pressed Fairy Book. A book he wrote and Brian Froud beautifully illustrated detailing the various kinds of fairies with examples “pressed” between the pages. Brilliant.

The man did a lot of work. What a legacy.

In 2015, Terry found out he had a form of dementia that would cause him to almost completely lose the ability to communicate. He wouldn’t be able to speak. For a man for whom language and words were so important to his life’s work this most have been especially horrible. My father-in-law suffered from the same illness. It became more and more difficult for him to get the words he had in his head to come out of his mouth. However, Dad’s dementia wasn’t able to get as advanced as Terry’s. My father-in-law would lose his life to lymphoma before he completely lost his words.


Dementia finally shut Mr. Jones down this past Tuesday. He will be remembered and missed for a long, long time.

Oh! And before you get upset about the insensitive nature of the headline for this blog, you should know I am quoting from a tweet released by fellow Python John Cleese.


Packing Peanuts!

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Warehouse Find is the official blog of, where you can find books, games, toys, cards, and a huge selection of Golden, Silver, Bronze, and Modern Age comic books. Jim also has a podcast called Dimland Radio. He’d love it if you checked it out. It’s available on iTunes.


A Great Cover By Mort Drucker


My main duties for Nostalgia Zone is to enter newly arrived comics and magazines into the online catalog. A catalog you should be checking out regularly to find those must have gems you’ve been looking for. The gems that will complete a collection and/or fill a hole in your life. Hey, I know how it is. I collect comic books, too.

OK, shameless plug over.

Oh! And you can sign up for a membership to earn points and receive discounts on those gems. It’s free!

All right. Enough with the shameless plugging, already.

As I go through each week’s new arrivals, I always keep an eye open for great covers for this series. Today I was entering reader copies of DC Comics’ The Adventures of Jerry Lewis. There were several covers produced by Owen Fitzgerald and a few by Bob Oksner. Both fellows are very good and capable artists.

But then I pulled #72 (September-October 1962) from the stack.

I stopped. “Whoa!* Who did this one?!”

I looked it up on the Grand Comics Database and found it was drawn and inked by cartooning/illustration legend Mort Drucker. I mainly know Drucker’s work for Mad Magazine, but he’s lent his artistic mastery to advertising, album covers, and, of course, comic books. His caricature work is fantastic!

On this cover, he needed to comply with keeping the consistent DC Comics’ look for Jerry, which he does, and yet he brings something special to the cover. The poses of the characters are loose and have movement. The young woman is attractive, but not lurid. And Jerry is… well… Jerry. Not to put down Fitzgerald and Oksner, it’s just that Drucker’s style tickles my fancy a little bit more.

It’s a great cover.

*Please note: When writing “whoa” as an expression of awe or surprise, or as a command to stop a horse, it is spelled W-H-O-A. Not W-O-A-H.  “Woah” is never correct. Never!

Packing Peanuts!

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Images used under Fair Use.

Warehouse Find is the official blog of, where you can find books, games, toys, cards, and a huge selection of Golden, Silver, Bronze, and Modern Age comic books. Jim also has a podcast called Dimland Radio. He’d love it if you checked it out. It’s available on iTunes.


My Awesome ’80s Mix Tape

Writer’s note: Pulled from the archives of my personal blog at, this is my write-up about a series of mixed tapes I made containing what I thought was totally awesome music from the 1980s. I’ve made a few revisions to the original. It should go without saying – this collection is not available in stores, or anywhere else for that matter.

Awesome? Really?

Remember mix tapes? Sure you do, cassette tape technology isn’t completely dead yet. Like so many of us who grew up through the ’70s and ’80s, I made quite a few mix tapes.

I started making mix tapes while in my second year of art school (1984/85). A fellow student introduced me to the concept of taking blank cassette tapes and filling them with your favorite songs. “What?! You mean to tell me that I can record a variety of songs, songs I like, on a blank cassette, so that I can listen to a variety of artists of my choosing? With no commercials? Why, that would be like having the radio station I’ve always wanted!”

Over the next decade plus, I would make dozens and dozens of mix tapes.

No. Not this one either.

Sometime in the mid ’90s, I began seeing ads for compilation CD sets filled with the awesome music of the ’80s. Ads like this one and this one. Now don’t get me wrong, not all the songs were awful, but awesome? Weeellll, I didn’t think so.

You see, while in art school, my musical tastes took a decided turn away from the mainstream. I turned toward what has since been categorized as alternative. I found myself getting into punk, post-punk, Goth, industrial, etc. The sort of music that wasn’t getting played on the radio and nowhere to be found on the charts. The collections I was seeing advertised weren’t even close to being awesome. Sure, there would be Whip It by Devo and Burning Down The House by Talking Heads, but those decent tunes would be offset by Kim Carnes, Loverboy, Bananarama, Toni Basil…

Awesome? Hardly!

“How lame!” I thought to myself and got to work creating a four volume set of mix tapes that I would call Awesome ’80s.

I limited myself to one song per artist. However, if a performer was part of a band and also released solo material in the ’80s, one song could be included from each (e.g. Peter Murphy and Bauhaus). Or if one band became another band and both released music in that decade (e.g. XTC and The Dukes of Stratosphear). A few songs may be considered mainstream, but they are still good enough to be included.

Nearly all of these songs can be found on Spotify or iTunes. Others can be found on YouTube, however there are a few songs by local (Minneapolis) bands that I just can’t find on the internets. Sorry.

I will list each volume’s song list without further comment. Rest assured, though, each song is great and worthy of a listen. Worthy of a thousand listens!

Volume I

Eighties – Killing Joke
I Will Dare – The Replacements
To Hell with Poverty – Gang of Four
Death of the European – The Three Johns
In Between Days – The Cure
Spinning Round – Red Lorry Yellow Lorry
Apeman Hop – Ramones
This Damn Nation – The Godfathers
She’s In Parties – Bauhaus
Alice’s House – The Psychedelic Furs
Rise – Public Image Ltd.
One Day in Your Life – 54-40
Give Me Back My Man – The B-52’s
Uncertain Smile – The The
Come To Milton Keyes – The Style Council
Into My Hands – The Church
So. Central Rain – REM
Smooth Operator – Sade
Respectable Street – XTC
Like Wow, Wipe Out – Hoodoo Gurus
How Soon Is Now – The Smiths
Cities in Dust – Siouxsie & the Banshees
Ahead – Wire
Through Being Cool – Devo
Vamos – Pixies
Newest Industry – Husker Du
Jordan, MN – Big Black
Envoye – The Young Gods
Those Who Move – Naked Raygun
No Time to Cry – Sisters of Mercy

Volume II

Once in a Lifetime – Talking Heads
Telephone Operator – Pete Shelley
Driving the Dynamite Truck – Breaking Circus
The High Road – The Feelies
Rescue – Echo & the Bunnymen
Mandinka – Sinead O’Connor
Swamp Thing – The Chameleons UK
Ceremony – New Order
Never Before, Never Again – The dB’s
Wild Blue Yonder – The Screaming Blue Messiahs
Message of Love – The Pretenders
Precious – The Jam
Cruiser’s Creek – The Fall
Marlene on the Wall – Suzanne Vega
Ivo – Cocteau Twins
Another Bubble – Robyn Hitchcock & the Egyptians
A Song from Under the Floorboards – Magazine
Big Decision – That Petrol Emotion
Marimba Jive – Red Guitars
A Pagan Place – The Waterboys
Say Goodbye – Hunters & Collectors
Love is the Law – The Suburbs
Snake Dance – The March Violets
Emmarita – The Whole Lotta Loves
Let’s Get Married – The Celibate Rifles
Here Comes the Rain – The Cult
Independence Day – Urban Guerrillas

Volume III

Final Solution – Peter Murphy
Canary in a Coalmine – The Police
24 – Game Theory
Scorpio Rising – 10,000 Maniacs
Free Yourself – The Untouchables
True Men Don’t Kill Coyotes – Red Hot Chili Peppers
Garbageman – The Cramps
Let’s See the Sun – The Fleshtones
We’re So Cool – Au Pairs
Nothing Means Nothing Anymore – The Alley Cats
Games Without Frontiers – Peter Gabriel
E = mc2  – Big Audio Dynamite
What Do You Know? – Buzzcocks
Here Comes the Rain Again – Eurythmics
Gone Daddy Gone – The Violent Femmes
Units – Man-Sized Action
Beatle Boots – Love Tractor
Above It Now – Figures
Motorcrash – The Sugarcubes
Go! – Tones on Tail
Everything Counts – Depeche Mode
Sour Grapes – The Descendents
Police on My Back – The Clash
Shut Out the Light – Steve Diggle
Insanely Jealous – The Soft Boys
Cloudbusting – Kate Bush

Volume IV

Well, Well, Well – The Woodentops
The Metro – Berlin
Jean’s Not Happening – The Pale Fountains
Carpathia Girl – Laughing Stock
Party at Ground Zero – Fishbone
Sensoria – Cabaret Voltaire
Ball of Confusion – Love & Rockets
Let My Love Open the Door – Pete Townshend
Love Kills – Joe Strummer
Levitation – The Mighty Mofos
Certain Things are Likely – KTP
Poplife – Prince & the Revolution
Ashes to Ashes – David Bowie
World Destruction – Time Zone
Nemesis – Shreikback
(Kind of) True – Golden Palominos
Date with a Vampyre – The Screaming Tribesmen
Some Candy Talking – The Jesus & Mary Chain
Just for the Moment – Get Smart
TV Party! – Black Flag

That’s more than a hundred crazy good kick ass songs! The 1980s did have some awesome music!

Packing Peanuts!

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Images used under Fair Use.

Warehouse Find is the official blog of, where you can find books, games, toys, cards, and a huge selection of Golden, Silver, Bronze, and Modern Age comic books. Jim also has a podcast called Dimland Radio. He’d love it if you checked it out. It’s available on iTunes.