My Free Comics Day Experience
First off, I want to say that I grew up with comics but, within the last decade or so, we have gone our separate ways. Not that they had nothing to offer me, but sometimes you just venture off through other corridors of life and they may not include your first loves. With that being said, a friend had mentioned that this Saturday is Free Comic Book Day at all comic book shops and online outlets and seeing as how my Cinco de Mayo was wide open; I decided to patronize my local comic book haberdashery to partake in a reunion of a life that once was.
It is a hot day in Texas and, while I do have working A/C in my mode of transportation, I am strangely accustomed to driving with my windows down and music up. Those whose first rides were old clunkers may understand this degree of self-torture but I digress. I bring this fact up because when I stepped into the store, the cool air hit me like a refrigerated hug and the smell of crisp paper filled my senses as I slowly walked the halls of Lone Star Comics. Past the toys, board games, strategy pieces, and a group of jocks that had just returned from seeing The Avengers and were debating who would win in a fight between Iron Man and Batman (seriously, it was almost as amusing as a group of dweebs battling the same topic); the bounty of free comics resided in the back and were catered by a nice, petite girl by the name of Barbara. No picture, sorry.
There were a decent number of comics spread out upon a table, some familiar some foreign. I entered polite conversation as I peeked through a few issues of recognizable characters and then moved onto ones that seemed intriguing. Here is a highlight of the swag I clutched in my dweeby hands for the remainder of my time there.
The First Pick
This one is a dual sided comic that introduces the storyline from both The Avengers:X-Sanction and The Defenders. What drew me to this one was obviously the recognizable heroes that were strewn about the cover and what appeared to be, and later confirmed, Cable standing amongst the fallen fighters. Whaaaaaaa? Now I liked Cable from back in the day, but I thought they gave him wayyyyy too much credit for his return or whatever it is they were trying to tout. The art style in this book is standard comic fair which is not to say it is forgettable; just expected. I didn’t linger too long in the pages of this book, seeing as if I had, I probably would have got into an argument with one of the jocks there about how Wolverine could kick Cable’s ass.
“You Want Green Lantern. Just Take It”
This next one was just thrown upon me by Barbara because apparently it was not selling (for free) very well. I have never been a fan of Green Lantern but I have always been a fan of free stuff, so I conceded to her offer. I flipped through a few pages and the only thing I can say that truly stood out for me in this one was the last page which was an advertisement for pure awesomeness that I will now look to Amazon.com for advice on.
The One from Left Field
I grew up with Mega Man and I was not familiar with the comic iteration of him so I decided to go ahead and scoop it up and humor it for a moment. I was truthfully impressed with the art direction that they took with him, although basic and cartoony at first glance, the coloring and simplicity fit Mega Man like a male pony tail in a comic book shop. It was refreshing to see this iconic character handled in a proper fashion and made available for later generations who may not know the goodness that is Mega Man. I will be asking for The Mega Man at my next haircut appointment but not before I hang with ICE MAN later on for a few margaritas.
The Discovered Love
Toward the end of the table laid a book that almost beckoned my very childhood itself. A square-shaped comic with muted colors and scratchy drawings that instantly felt like Runaway Ralph meets old school Winnie the Pooh. The book is called Mouse Guard and apparently it is written and illustrated by a chap named David Petersen.
Now, I know what you are thinking. “Ryan, you picked the least-manliest thing in the comic book store as you’re favorite takeaway?”. The answer, dear reader, is yes. While I do like heroic proportions of muscles and page filling action scenes, I was hooked by the art style and topic of this book that was largely going unnoticed by the other visitors to my left and right. The fiction Petersen has created with these little mice is quite expansive and if you can’t cheer on little warrior mice (you evil bastard), what can you cheer for? This book just spoke to me as a person; not making that up. So much that I ended up purchasing a few copies of the regular series and stood in stasis for a good moment at the sight of the Roleplaying Game of Mouse Guard.
At this moment in my life, I was just looking for something different and unique and this haul certainly did not disappoint. Honorable mention goes out to Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz which also stood out graphically and one that I had not heard of but is now on my list of comics to purchase. It is funny when I think about it. A grown man going after these innocent little titles. There were plenty of Batman and Xmen to reach out to (two of my favorite set of characters) but I was in the mood for a new experience, for a new memory. I had already lived the life of one who gushed for epic mutant battles and enjoyed the shadowy tales of morbid anti-heroes. Now, it was time to grow and expand and I will be doing so on my couch, under the laboring ceiling fan, with a cold glass of lemonade.
Do you buy comics? If so, what do they say about the current chapter of your life?