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The Comic Book Start Up Guide (The Big Thread of Comic Q&A)

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Zombine

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I. Introduction

So, you've decided you want to get into comic books, but have no idea where to start! That's perfectly fine! Almost 100+ years of publishers, story arcs, artists, writers, events, deaths, retcons (and MORE!) can be incredibly scary and overwhelming for new or returning readers, and you may have a few questions about where to start! In this thread, I hope to answer all of your questions about where to start (and where to read), and I hope that this thread will satisfy all of your needs, and ultimately cut down on all comic questions threads by 100%. This thread is officially endorsed by ComicGAF because I say so, and if a certain comic reading mod would like to use his mod abuse powers I would love him to edit in whatever he feels may need to be added to the thread.

II. Locating your LCS (Local Comic Shop)

This may be one of the most difficult parts of beginning your reading adventure in this new and wild hobby as a physical reader. If you want to jump into the freshest and latest books and stories, heading to your local comic shop on new release day which is every Wednesday with the exception of holidays is what you are going to want to do. Some of you know exactly where your LCS is, and some of you have no idea where to go. For those of you who don't know where your closest shop is, one of the main resources you can should use is the Comic Shop Locator. This will help you identify all comic shops in your area, and from there you can figure out what the store's hours are by calling them or going to their website.

III. Physical Comics

As I mentioned earlier, new comic books are released every Wednesday, and are released in a "floppy" format. On average, modern non-oversized issues are 24 pages long, with oversized issues are running about 32 pages long for first issues and bigger events. Marvel and DC both follow the $2.99-$4.99 price point for their entire line, while Image comics typically holds steady at $2.99, with oversized issues costing as much as $3.50, and weird gimmick issues that you can get for a penny or less. I will suggest a variety of different comics later on in the thread.


IV. Collected Editions

So, the weekly comic trip is too much money for your tastes? That's okay too! You may not always be in the comic "loop" in terms of what is currently going on in your favorite universe, but it might give you some time to acquire feedback from fans and fellow ComicGAF members about a particular run or arc. You'll probably save close to 50% by waiting, but mileage will vary depending on your location in the world. Collected edition release schedules are typically as follows:

  • TPB (Trade Paperback)
    Wikipedia said:
    In comics, a trade paperback (often shortened to TPB or trade) is a collection of stories originally published in comic books, reprinted in book format, usually capturing one story arc from a single title or a series of stories with a connected story arc or common theme from one or more titles.

  • Deluxe Hardcover

    The Deluxe Hardcover is a long wait, but the improvement in quality and gorgeous art/spine is a sight to behold. The Deluxe Hardcover format is typically used by Image Comics, and they collect 12 or so issues before they are released. On the Marvel/DC side, hardcovers can release in this same time frame, but they may also release after an Omnibus collection goes out of print, or as the cheaper (and sometimes better) option. Deluxe Hardcovers typically cost as much as two TPBs.

  • Omnibus

    The ultimate comic bible. A Comic Omnibus typically collects a particular writer's entire run on a book. Over-sized and expensive, it's suggest that you only move onto this format for a comic purchase if you are confident that you love a particular Writer/Artist/Character/Run/Ect. There are ways to get Omnibus collections at a discount where they can cost less than a new Video Game, but we will move onto where to shop later on.


  • Artist Edition

    Wikipedia said:
    Artist's Edition is an award-winning line of hardcover reprint comic books published by IDW Publishing and edited by Scott Dunbier. Each page in an Artist's Edition series book is printed the same size as the original art board and scanned from the original art wherever possible. Additionally, while appearing to be in black and white, each page is scanned in color to show blue pencil and other corrections.

    Each page in an Artist's Edition series book is printed the same size as the original art board and scanned from the original art wherever possible. Additionally, while appearing to be in black and white, each page is scanned in color to show blue pencil and other corrections./QUOTE]

    Comic Fanatics, Artists, Connoisseurs, Hipsters, and Benjamin Birdie only.



    Stunningly gorgeous and overwhelmingly large. You wont buy these unless you intend to.


"Physical Comics? Are you serious? What year is this, 2009?"

Woah! No Need for hostility! Physical and Digital comics are meant to co-exist, and even those at the forefront of the digital movement will tell you that they still read physical comics, and that their digital service is not meant to replace the format. Digital is most certainly the future and is incredibly convenient, but like physical comics you need to know where to start. Here are the answers to all of your burning digital questions:

V. Digital Services & Tablets

  • Marvel

    Marvel has had a lot of success in the digital realm, and they were really the first to embrace the dual physical/digital future with their Marvel NOW line. All books that are 3.99+ ship with digital codes that you enter on marvel.com/redeem, and are added to your Marvel/Linked Comixology account after you go through the process of entering your digital code.
  • Marvel Unlimited


    http://marvel.com/comics/unlimited

    For $9.99 a Month, you gain access to 15,000+ Marvel Comics, now including the recently acquired Star Wars licence. This is one of the best places to start as a new reader, and will help you get a feel for various franchises, writers, artists, and other runs that you may be interested in. The app is about 6 months behind on current events, but it is awesome for old Marvel books. Marvel Unlimited frequently goes on sale for a month, and I will update this with all current codes available for use:

    no codes present at this time

    (ios/android/pc)
  • COMIXOLOGY!
    ****Updated 12/11/16****


    https://www.comixology.com/

    The digital distribution site/app which has grown to become the universal standard for all of your digital comic purchases. Safe and secure, this site is the cream of the crop and holds most of the digital comic market share. Thousands of titles with sales throughout the week. The site has grown (like Spotify) to include almost every new release day and date (with the exception of Dark Horse because seriously, fuck them.) This is where I suggest that you go for HD, gorgeous comics with wonderful navigation options and more. It's safe, secure, and dependable. Their sales are typically on fire each week. Get on this now! (Available on ios/android/pc)

7/2/2016 edit: Comixology now includesDark Horse comics in their weekly releases. Read Hellboy here

[*] Comixology Unimited



https://m.comixology.com/unlimited

For $5.99 a month, you can check out some of the hottest Image and Non-Marvel/DC books to hit the market. This is a "try it before you buy it" approach to digital, and unlike Marvel Unlimited which gets new releases after 6 months, the Comxiology Unlimited mentality is that you get to try the first few arcs before you buy into the rest. This works out well for creators who have to fight for every new fan. Give it a shot for free right now.

VI. Tablets

So now that you're hyped up from that wicked awesome random cut trailer of shit blowing up in Avengers 2, you want to buy a tablet to start reading Comics digitally. Where do you start? What is the right tablet for comics for you? These are questions you will ask yourself when looking for the right tablet for reading, but the answer really does have very few wrong answers, and money + additional use is what will determine what is right for you. If we are discussing strict usage just for comics though, the largest scale tablet is the best option to emulate the actual size of a current comic book (6-3/4" wide x 10-1/2" tall). You are still going to have a bit of compression with full sized tablets, but you will get the closest to physical with that format. Here are what are considered to be the best options for your new digital collection:

  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
    http://www.samsung.com/us/mobile/galaxy-tab/SM-T800NZWAXAR



    -1600 x 2560 AMOLED Display
    -10.5 Inches
    - $499.99
  • iPad Air/iPad Air 2

    http://store.apple.com/us/buy-ipad/ipad-air-2?afid=p238%7CskgSKcYQB-dc_mtid_1870765e38482_pcrid_65031589807_&cid=aos-us-kwg-ipad



    -9.7 inch Display
    -ios Apps
    -BRANDING!!!!!
    -Starting at $499.99

    The iPad Air/Air 2 is the closest you can get to perfection for comics. While not as authentic to size reproduction as the Galaxy tab, you may be able to get the iPad Air cheaper than the Tab S, and you have access to Apple apps as well. It really all comes down to preference between Apple/Android, but the focus here is strictly comics. Both are ace, both are worth your time and money.
  • iPad Pro


    -12.9 inch display
    -iOS apps
    -Read comics at their intended size
    -huge two page spreads
    -$600-800 (depending on sales and whatnot)

    The iPad Pro has edged out the traditional iPad form factor as the premium home experience for comic reading. The downside is that it's ginormous, and you probably won't be using this on any long car rides or on vacation. Comics are drawn (typically) on 11 X 17 art board, so this is kinda sorta (not really) like reading a comic as it was drawn. If you can afford one...GET IT.

    Budget Option:
  • Kindle Fire HD 7



    -Starting at $139.99

    It is what it is. It works. You can read comics on it. Amazon probably hopes that you will read Comixology on it anyways, seeing as how they own the company anyhow. The beauty is that with Amazon owning Comixology at this point, you could read digital books on any tablet you choose and not worry about being updated out of access to the app. Get what you can, but these are some of the best options out there.

VII. What to Read

So! Now that we have all of the technical definitions and questions out of the way, now you want to know what to read. Everyone has different tastes, and the beautiful thing about reading comic books is that there is something for everyone! I have compiled a list of currently available critically acclaimed runs of comics and standalone stories which may be of interest to you! Don't let people determine what to read for you. Use books such as these and comic resources and new sites such as http://www.comicbookresources.com/ to get hyped up for new comics from your favorite artists and writers!

Free Comic Book Day 2017


Timed appropriately with the first big Comic Book Movie of the summer, Free Comic Book Day is one of the best chances for new and existing comic fans to go out and meet fellow comic enthusiasts and to check out a bunch of awesome books...for FREE! Each year, participating publishers and LCS offer a range of books which can highlight special events which are about to kick off, or maybe get you hooked on a book you didn't know about! There's a lot of shit, but it's hilarious and free shit, and it's absolutely worth the trip out on a Saturday morning before you see the next big comic movie. Any good shop will offer food, have music, and even special guests such as artists or writers! Head over to Free Comic Book Day's official website for more information, or watch this short video:

Free Comic Book Day: What is it?

Marvel Comics

Miss Marvel (2014)
Hawkeye (2012)
All New X-Men
Superior Spiderman
Superior Foes of Spiderman
All New Captain America
Black Widow
Howard The Duck
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl
Daredevil by Mark Waid
Marvel NOW! Thor by Jason Aaron

DC Comics

Fables by Bill Willingham
Batman by Scott Snyder
Batman & Robin by Peter J Tomasi
Batgirl by Cameron Stewart
Justice League United by Jeff Lemire
Aqua Man by Geoff Johns
The Flash by Geoff Johns
Basically every DC book ever by Geoff Johns
Multiversity by Grant Morrison (Intermediate Readers ONLY)
Catwoman by Genevive Valentine
Grayson by Tim Seeley


Image Comics

Manhattan Projects by Jonathan Hickman
The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman
Velvet by Ed Brubaker
Zero by Ales Kot
Shutter by Joe Keatinage
Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction
Saga by Brian K. Vaughn
Rat Queens by Kurtis J Wiebe
Bitch Planet by Kelly Sue Deconnick
Strangers In Paradise by Terry Moore
Rachael Rising by Terry Moore
Low by Rick Remender
Black Science by Rick Remender
Deadly Class by Rick Remender

Vertigo

Unwritten by Mike Carey
Sandman by Neil Gaiman
Y The Last Man by Brian K Vaughn
V For Vendetta by Alan Moore
Preacher by Garth Ennis
Lucifer by Mike Carey
Hellblazer by Jamie Delano

Dark Horse

Hellboy by Mike Mignola
BPRD by Mike Mignola, Various
Locke & Key by Joe Hill
Fear Agent by Rick Remender
Blacksad by Juan Díaz Canales

Humanoids

The Incal by Alejandro Jodorowsky
The Metabarons by Alejandro Jodorowsky

****Will Update Recommendations based on ComicGAF input****

VIII. Where to Buy (Physical)

So, now that you have read through this thread and are considering physical purchases, there are only three site where American-based readers should be buying their Trades, hardcovers, ect:

  • Amazon.com
    www.amazon.com

    Like CDs and boring books without pictures, Amazon.com offers all new releases at a discount. You can typically find new releases at $5 off or more, with the only downside being that Amazon.com typically has to wait a week or two before comic shops to sell new collected releases. This is clearly worth the wait, but there is one more option...
  • INSTOCKTRADES.COM


    www.instocktrades.com



    This is THE site to help you amass a collection of expensive comicbook hardcovers, trades, and omnibus collections that you will put on a shelf and never read. This is where you need to buy your books. Nowhere else. $100+ books are discounted by 50%+ the week of release (42% afterwards) and there is free shipping on orders of $50 or more. This site is legit. It is fucking amazing, period. They're quick, they ship internationally, and they pack your purchases like a stork delivering a newborn baby Bendis on your doorstep and they have stellar customer service. Now that you know about this, you can no longer bitch about the price of books. Its wicked convenient and our site of choice over at ComicGAF.

  • DCBS


    https://www.dcbservice.com/home

    "Floppies are too expensive to buy. I could never go to a comic shop every Wednesday and buy singles"



    Not when DCBS exists. Like Instocktrades (the sister company), you can now have your weekly comics delivered right to your home at a deep discount. Save up to 50% off your monthly orders, and have access to weekly new releases even if you can't locate an LCS in your area. This is another badass site, and will help you keep your budget in check.



So there we have it. Basically everything you need to get started in the world of comics. I hope this can answer a lot of potential questions, and to avoid the need for having threads about "how to get into comics" multiple times a week. I will update this thread as more information is provided to me.

Love Zombine.

 

MikeDip

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Ah that's a beautiful post zombine.
Throw up Lucifer in the recommended list though, that angel deserves some love.

Damn Image is killing it lately. All quality stuff right there.
 

Calcium

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I really could have used a thread like this when I got back into comics. This will help a lot of people. Nice work, Zombine.
 

tim1138

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Who was the guy in the Comics OT who was going to read every issue of Spider-Man ever published?
 

Parch

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Wow. Serious nice OP.

For comic non-readers.
Just give it up. You know you want to. It's not like crack at all. No, really. Just try some.
 

Reg

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Just picked up the Sandman Absolutes a few days ago. Love the over-sized versions.
 

Matty77

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Subscribed to thread.

Now for a question how far back does marvel unlimited go/buying old marvel elsewhere? For a couple of reasons I just want digital but I really am only interested regaining my favorite marvel books, mostly from the 70's some 80's. Is that feasible and if so what is the best digital option?

Thanks in advance.
 

Filthy Slug

Crowd screaming like hounds at the heat of the chase/ All the colors of the rainbow flood my face
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Who was the guy in the Comics OT who was going to read every issue of Spider-Man ever published?

Whoever he was, he's in a better place now.


Question for Zombine: If I buy an omnibus, what is the best position to read it in? And can you supply a drawing of said position?
 

Parch

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Who was the guy in the Comics OT who was going to read every issue of Spider-Man ever published?
There's a guy on CBR who has done this, but he's been reading it all his life. I honestly could never do it. I got sick of Spider-Man real fast just reading a lengthy run of Amazing SM.

There's also a guy on CBR who has collected every issue of every X-Men title for over 30 years. Seriously dedicated.
 

Zombine

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Will add a majority of these to the list. I got fatigued near the end.

Question for Zombine: If I buy an omnibus, what is the best position to read it in? And can you supply a drawing of said position?

I prefer the pretzel.
 

Affeinvasion

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Being six months behind on marvel unlimited has been a blessing in disguise. I'm no longer a slave to the hype cycle. The sad part is I've basically dropped DC completely since they don't have a comparable service.

P.S. they just recently updated the marvel unlimited app...and it's way, way better. Keep in mind I read off of my galaxy s4 phone screen.
 
Oct 14, 2010
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Great thread. Southern Bastards should also definetely be in the recs. Also lumberjanes and some indie stuff too.
 

Zombine

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Great thread. Southern Bastards should also definetely be in the recs. Also lumberjanes and some indie stuff too.

Will definitely get there. Southern Bastards and Scalped are going to be added to the list. I will add IDW/Dynamite as well.

I'll will also be including better options for friends overseas with input from Euro-ComicGAF and UK-ComicGAF. Though from what I know, the options for discounted books aren't so hot...
 

tim1138

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Subscribed to thread.

Now for a question how far back does marvel unlimited go/buying old marvel elsewhere? For a couple of reasons I just want digital but I really am only interested regaining my favorite marvel books, mostly from the 70's some 80's. Is that feasible and if so what is the best digital option?

Thanks in advance.

With Marvel Unlimited you don't actually own anything, it's like Netflix for Marvel comics. They go all the way back to the 60s, but there are a lot of gaps in the runs. With comixology, there's no hard and fast rule for coverage on titles, you just have to browse the site and see what they have. For older series you're just as likely to find digital editions of old trades as you are individual issues, but again it's all up to the publisher.
 

Zeyphersan

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Being six months behind on marvel unlimited has been a blessing in disguise. I'm no longer a slave to the hype cycle. The sad part is I've basically dropped DC completely since they don't have a comparable service.

P.S. they just recently updated the marvel unlimited app...and it's way, way better. Keep in mind I read off of my galaxy s4 phone screen.

The app is better on my ipad

On the desktop it's transformed into literal trash
 

Filthy Slug

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I'm gonna be that guy.

I didn't care for Jeff Lemire's Green Arrow run. Not sure if it was the hype but I was waiting for something brilliant to happen but nothing ever did.

The brilliant thing it did was give new52 Ollie a family to care about, and a family that readers cared about. It also set up a pretty fascinating story surrounding the multiple weapon-based clans warring with each other.

And oh yeah, it introduced us to Andrea Sorrentino's incredible art:

 

Shaanyboi

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The brilliant thing it did was give new52 Ollie a family to care about, and a family that readers cared about. It also set up a pretty fascinating story surrounding the multiple weapon-based clans warring with each other.

And oh yeah, it introduced us to Andrea Sorrentino's incredible art:

*brofist*
 

Matty77

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With Marvel Unlimited you don't actually own anything, it's like Netflix for Marvel comics. They go all the way back to the 60s, but there are a lot of gaps in the runs. With comixology, there's no hard and fast rule for coverage on titles, you just have to browse the site and see what they have. For older series you're just as likely to find digital editions of old trades as you are individual issues, but again it's all up to the publisher.
Thanks. I'll check them out in depth I guess. I don't mind the subscription model I am more into the reading versus collecting, but I prefer unbroken runs of stuff.

I guess if worse comes to worse I can track down the essentials collections I used to have its just physical is really inconvenient for me.

Thanks again for the answer.
 

tim1138

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Thanks. I'll check them out in depth I guess. I don't mind the subscription model I am more into the reading versus collecting, but I prefer unbroken runs of stuff.

I guess if worse comes to worse I can track down the essentials collections I used to have its just physical is really inconvenient for me.

Thanks again for the answer.

No problem at all.
You can currently get a free month of Unlimited by using STARWARS as a coupon code when checking out, it's a great service and worth checking out for a month at least. I've dropped every Marvel book I read other than Silver Surfer and just wait the six months for it to show up on Unlimited.
 

Bii

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The brilliant thing it did was give new52 Ollie a family to care about, and a family that readers cared about. It also set up a pretty fascinating story surrounding the multiple weapon-based clans warring with each other.

And oh yeah, it introduced us to Andrea Sorrentino's incredible art:
https://redblooms.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/shut-up-and-shoot1.jpg

The art was good, not going to dispute that.

The story progression and the cheeeeeeeeeeeesyness of it all? Eh, I'll pass. You have the trope of someone (Magus) who knows everything yet tells absolutely nothing to the protagonist save for vague hints and clues of his past/present/future. You also have Ollie following those tips blindly every step of the way. It's been a few months since I've read it but I do remember finishing the trade and thought to myself "that was it?"
 

tim1138

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The art was good, not going to dispute that.

The story progression and the cheeeeeeeeeeeesyness of it all? Eh, I'll pass. You have the trope of someone (Magus) who knows everything yet tells absolutely nothing to the protagonist save for vague hints and clues of his past/present/future. You also have Ollie following those tips blindly every step of the way. It's been a few months since I've read it but I do remember finishing the trade and thought to myself "that was it?"

Did you read more than the first trade? The Outsiders War was goddamn incredible.
 

KoruptData

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Great thread Zombine! You are a better man than me. I would have started this and quit a few paragraphs in.
 
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Also, a good resource for finding random cool new comics on a whim is Comic Book Roundup.

It's a meta-critic/ rotten tomatoes type site for comics. I've found a lot of my current favorite serials browsing the site. I discovered "We Can Never Go Home" and "Big Man Plans" on the site. Also, "Curb Stomp" but I'd rather not talk about Curb Stomp... The Aggregate on the archive isn't always the best. A lot of older comics only have 1 review and it still counts the score. The newer/current stuff is generally well accounted for though.

Curb Stomp sucks

Time to go read the new Deadly Class.
 

Bii

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Did you read more than the first trade? The Outsiders War was goddamn incredible.

I didn't and maybe that's why I'm missing all of the good parts? After the first trade, I think I was done and just didn't care for it to "get better" in subsequent issues/trades.
 

Matty77

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No problem at all.
You can currently get a free month of Unlimited by using STARWARS as a coupon code when checking out, it's a great service and worth checking out for a month at least. I've dropped every Marvel book I read other than Silver Surfer and just wait the six months for it to show up on Unlimited.
I will check that out then, Might as well read some of the new stuff too, I am sure I will find stuff to enjoy.
 

MikeDip

God bless all my old friends/And god bless me too, why pretend?
Aug 23, 2012
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A helpful hint that should probably be in the OP - if you wanna discuss the stuff you're reading, then join us in the sun in our OT (April edition - http://m.neogaf.com/showthread.php?t=1021372&page=1). Stay away from the OT bait threads like today's "I hate comics, who's with me?!" gem. We're a welcoming and pretty easy going bunch.

My hope is that threads like that one expose people to comics that they normally would have missed. I think we got a few new Sex Criminals readers which is a good thing.

But yes come to the official comic thread, lot's of cool people and comics in there!
 

Zeyphersan

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My hope is that threads like that one expose people to comics that they normally would have missed. I think we got a few new Sex Criminals readers which is a good thing.

But yes come to the official comic thread, lot's of cool people and comics in there!

Is it all people reading the new stuff?
 
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