Pop Culture Gadabout
Monday, May 08, 2006
      ( 5/08/2006 02:34:00 PM ) Bill S.  

"YOU'LL BE ABSOLUTELY FREE/ONLY IF YOU WANT TO BE!" – Followed Saturday's dog park trip with a quick stop at Normal, IL's comic shoppe, Acme Comics, to check out the Free Comic Book Day pickings. The place wasn't as crowded as it'd been previous years. Jim, the store's owner, had decided to scale things back: just one table with thirteen freebies, most focused toward kids or mainstream superhero fans. Saw no parent/kid combos in the store (unlike previous years), but perhaps I'd missed 'em. In any event, the relative roominess made it easier for me to briefly browse and shop. Bought a copy of an Iron Wok Jan! GN (was looking for the last Battle Royale, but it still was on order) and a Love And Rockets comic in addition to my pile of freebies. Just to show that I'm not a complete freeloader.

I haven't been as regular a visitor to Acme in the past year – that damn money thing – and of the current crop of mainstream titles, the only one I've bought regularly has been Morrison's All-Star Superman, which somehow seems most appropriate to read in that format. My superhero reading has been down considerably; though I have vague plans to catch up on some of the series that I once followed more diligently through trades, I haven't put this half-formulated plan into action yet. More often, if I go into the shoppe with some small amount of dough to buy some comics, I'm more liable to buy a manga title – at this point in my reading, even the most formulaic manga seem fresher than most American superhero books.

As for the freebies, I read through half of 'em yesterday, delving into the "funnybooks" first. I was particularly interested in checking out Jimmy Gownley's Amelia Rules and Bryan Lee O'Malley's Scott Pilgrim intro books since they've both gotten good blogospheric buzz. Found the first to be an appealing kids' comic that would probably make a decent NickToon, though the charm of the second, I must admit, eluded me: perhaps it was O'Malley's art, which seemed more suited to the digest format and too loose for the larger comic book page; maybe the characters need a larger story to grown on me. Whatever it is, Scott didn't take hold as strongly as Amelia.

More familiar fare – a Donald Duck with a predictable but well-told Don Rosa duck tale, Andy Runton's quietly charming Owly, a story-free 65th anniversary Archie celebration written and hastily illustrated by Dan Parent (best known in Gadabout Land for The Carneys) that appeared primarily designed to hype the fact that Sabrina and Josie and the Pussycats are being done "manga-style" now, a suitably snarky Bongo Free-for-All with a cover story centered around Comic Book Guy ("Oh, Brian Michael Bendis, you've done it again!") – all made for a relaxing Sunday a.m. reading. After finishing 'em, I resolved to get a copy of Rosa's Life And Times of Scrooge McDuck, Runton's Owly trades and look to fill in those few missing issues of Archie Comics from my collection where the Carneys appeared as a secondary feature. (What can I say? I've got a thing for Rotunda!) Mission Accomplished, Free Comic Book Day!
# |

Pop cultural criticism - plus the occasional egocentric socio/political commentary by Bill Sherman (popculturegadabout AT yahoo.com).

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