Free Comic Book Day 2007

Free Comic Book Day 2007
Originally uploaded by xadrian.
Happy Free Comic Book Day.

Happy Cinco de Mayo.

Happy National Cartoonist Day!

This is going to be my new Father's Day if my little ones, especially my little girl, keep going to the comic shops with me. I haven't so much as stepped foot in an LCS for years. Mrs. Austin told me about a brand new shop opening up in our area called Ninja Pirate Comics so I decided to take LMA with me and check it out.

First, the women were all dressed as pirate wenches and the guys were all in black. It'd been cooler if they were ninjas, but all black was ok. I also realized that I was the old man in the store. The other folks my age were all around a single table either sharing some stories or playing a weird corporate RPG I've never heard of involving PE Ratios and Back Plane Management and Entry Stripe Coding. Everyone else was closer to LMA's age than mine, with exception of the owners.

I haven't purchased a book in years and I can't pinpoint the exact reason I stopped. I got a little tired of reading basically the same stories over and over again and I ended up either following artists or writers I knew from conventions or online communities. But even that was hard to do after a while as their books were delayed or canceled and in the end I'd end up only buying a handful of trades a month. I think I remember one Wednesday I picked LMA up from school and instead of taking our normal detour to an LCS, I just drove home and didn't realize I'd forgot until later. I wasn't upset about it either.

So as I perused the selection of Ninja Pirate's books, I was hoping for some spark of consumerism, some trigger that would release the pent up love I had at one point for comic books. I have fond memories of the feel of comics, the smell, the heft in my hands, the traditional scanning of the new comic racks. I don't know if it was because I was worried about LMA getting Spiderman cupcake icing all over the new books, but I just didn't find what I was looking for. Which was odd because the kids running the shop were always asking people if they were finding what they were looking for. I felt like saying, "Yes, do you have the latest issue of what happened to my love for comics? I'm about 2 years behind and I don't know where I left off." I'm sure they'd have assumed it was an indie title so I didn't bother.

LMA got a bit bored and only really wanted mostly anime/manga related toys behind the counter; eg a Super Mario mushroom on a brick box. I don't think it did anything but take $10 from me. Maybe that was its whole purpose.

May 5th for me wasn't as happy as I wanted it. I wanted to go in and have that inner-geek rekindled. (I have an outer-geek already, he's in charge of video games and cartoon art and sci-fi novels.) But it felt more like a relationship you try to rekindle after years apart; the memories are better than what actually happened and what is happening now.

I'll read these free books and see what happens.

It can't be any worse than Spiderman 3.

You heard me. Spiderman 3 wasn't as good as it could have been. It wasn't horrible, but I honestly felt it wasn't as good as the other two.

Don't get me wrong, the movie had some really REALLY great scenes. It had great fights, great effects and some decent writing and acting. But there were really odd bits that seemed out of place, really ham-handed direction and a story that seemed forced. A friend of mine reiterated that this movie was trying to do in two hours what the comic book took over 100 issues to do.

It fell pray to something I like to call Villain Overload. Batman had a problem with it, X3 had a problem with it. I'm sure the new Batman's and Superman's will end up having a problem with it. See, superhero comics generally have tons of villains. Spiderman alone has something like 80-90 bad guys he's fought over the years; some are major and some are either one-shot or other people's arch enemies. When a movie franchise hits it big and they decide to make sequels, you can usually tell that they try to force more bang for the buck by introducing more villains. Hey, Batman can beat just one guy, next time we'll do two, then three, then we'll just empty Arkham and see what happens.

What happens is the plot becomes shallow. Instead of two archetypal characters duking it out physically and mentally which each other, you have 5 or 6 people fighting just for screen time. A blockbuster needs fights and kisses and good effects but if you have more back story to tell because you have 19 bad guys, you're sacrificing good movie storytelling time by doing it.

In this case we have to find out what happens to Harry Osborn and then watch the creation of a new villain (Sandman) and then the subplot that creates Venom (Eddie Brock.) All this time Peter is being a schmuck to MJ and working out more personal demons than James Bond.

I was left feeling a bit flat. I wasn't tingling all over like the first two had done, but I left feeling like there could have been more of something and less of others. Yes I was entertained, but the same way Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom or Return of the Jedi had done.

And by the way, if you have a youngling less than 10 years old, I don't know that I'd take them. The fights are no less evil than the Green Goblin or Doc Ock fights from 1 and 2, but Venom is evil incarnate. He is all black and fangs and shrieks and strikes with a vengeance you might see from a demon in Lord of the Rings. It might scare little kids. Little kids might also not get all the inner turmoil bits and the relationship strife Peter and MJ go through.

Yes, it's PG-13, but I wouldn't push it with little kids. Girls especially, but any little kid might get freaked at Venom's befanged maw.

Adults might want to do a matinées so as not to fell bad about dropping $8-10 on an average blockbuster.

Go get some comics today.

Carry on.

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