The Sunday Salon: Free Comic Book Day


This weekend has been an auspicious weekend for nerds of every stripe: the release of Iron Man 3, Star Wars Day (May the Fourth be with you!), Free Comic Book Day, and Cinco de Mayo have all lined up into a single three day period. (Four days if your journey to an Iron Man 3 screening happened on a Thursday.) “It is a great weekend to be a drunk nerd,” a friend of mine observed yesterday. My review of Iron Man 3 will go up tomorrow, I’ve got nothing on Star Wars, and, considering the torrential downpour, my Cinco de Mayo may devolve into me just watching Once Upon a Time and doing the laugh/cry thing I always do with that show, so that leaves Free Comic Book Day to cover.

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Free Comic Book Day is an concept sprung from the head of Joe Field, of Flying Colors Comics in Concord, California. In the August 2001 issue of Comics & Game Retailers, he proposed adapting Baskin Robbins’ “Free Scoop Night” into a “Free Comics Night”, where publishers provided free samplers of their works and other freebies to reward committed comics readers and interest new ones. The next year, 2002, saw the first Free Comic Book Day come to pass, in a similar situation to this weekend: on Star Wars Day, with Spider-Man having come out the day before. (The nerd stars align so very prettily, don’t they?) In fact, the date was originally tied to the release of a superhero film—X2 and Spider-Man 2 dictated the dates for 2003 and 2004—but during 2004, it was decided that the date would just be the first Saturday in May, regardless of films. Of course, since May marks the beginning of blockbuster season, there’s usually a superhero film that comes out around the same time.

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This year, despite the hideous weather, I rounded up two other lady geek friends of mine and drove on down to Oxford Comics, the comic book store in Atlanta. My graduation next week means that I’ll be moving back home and relying on my high school mainstay, Heroes, so I thought this would be a good final visit to the comic book store where I started with the new Wonder Woman and Journey Into Mystery, as well as the place I purchased Ten, my cardboard cutout of the Tenth Doctor. Oxford Comics is the biggest comic book store in Atlanta and boasts a selection of mainstream and independent comics, action figures, imported DVDs, trading cards, tabletop games, t-shirts… they’ve got it all. Including a tabletop version of Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose. (I can’t believe somebody put together the gaming rights for that novel. Which, to be fair, I’ve not read.)

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As it usually is on Free Comic Book Day, the place was packed, which made sitting down to rifle through the long boxes of back issues in the back a bit sporty. There were two artists doing sketches and I quite fancied a sketch of Pepper Potts in the Iron Man suit (that doesn’t count as a spoiler!), but they were swamped by kids. And Free Comic Book Day is about growing the readership for the industry, so the kids were a little more important for the sketch artists than Clare “Should Probably Just Get A Pull List Started Already” McBride. Walking around in search of some Harley Quinn back issues, a little girl walked by me declaring to her father her love of Simpsons comics. Another little girl was dressed up like Robin, except with the K of her own name in place of the R, waiting patiently in line for her sketch with her mother. There were little boys, too, and they made me yearn for the day I can bring Wolfboy to Free Comic Book Day (and Renaissance Festival and Disney*World…), but it does gladden my heart to see little girls not only at ease in a comic book store, but welcomed and encouraged to participate—one of the titles made available yesterday was part of Disney’s Fairies franchise, clearly banking on the little girl contingent showing up. I hope her sketch was awesome.

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My own haul from the free comics were Superman: Last Son of Krypton, which collects the first chapter of that graphic novel, the totally unknown to me but beautifully illustrated Aphrodite IX, and Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H., which collects two comics assembled from screenshots of episodes of the new Marvel cartoons, Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. and Avengers Assemble. I picked it up because I saw She-Hulk on the cover. She might be in the show, but she’s not in the comic. BOO. I soothed my soul by picking up two issues of She-Hulks, a four-issue long series about Jennifer Walters, She-Hulk, mentoring a She-Hulk from the future, Lyra, and the She-Hulk: Cosmic Collision one-shot, which, I am promised, involves the Lady Liberators, and I adore them. All in all, a very good Free Comic Book Day indeed.

This past week was the first week of finals—as well as my last week of finals, if all goes according to the Clarean Master Life Plan. More on that next Sunday. As of yesterday morning, my senior year of college is complete, so this week is all about tying up loose ends, spending time with friends, and finally being able to sleep. (I am cursed with the inability to sleep in, so I must go to bed early.) As you can imagine, I have not gotten substantial reading done this week, but I have started The Man in the High Castle and will now have time to finish it. I also saw Iron Man 3 on Friday—review forthcoming.

This week’s links (there are many!):

Did you participate in Free Comic Book Day? Tell me about it!

One thought on “The Sunday Salon: Free Comic Book Day

  1. That’s a really interesting piece about accepting change and Doctor Who. What I think is interesting is that the Doctor himself has a hard time managing things that are new to him. You know? Fairly often, something happens that’s outside of his experience and he stands there going “But that’s impossible” for a while until someone grabs him and makes him accept it. His experience is wider, but he’s not particularly better than (for instance) his companions at dealing with things that fall outside of what he knows.

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