Confessions of a Comic Book Guy is a weekly column by Steve Bennett of Super-Fly Comics and Games in Yellow Springs, Ohio. This week, Bennett talks about the best Free Comic Book Day ever.
This year we didn't run radio spots to promote FCBD and if there was any local media coverage I sure missed it, but the people still came out in record numbers last Saturday. Super-Fly Comics & Games not only had its best Free Comic Book Day, but its single best day ever. Even after getting a wider selection of comics than last year we ran out of FCBD offerings at 2pm. Afterwards we switched to giving out quarter comics, and before closing had gone through eight short boxes of them.
Their quick disappearance was (hopefully) due to the fact we had a better than average batch of FCBD comics this year. Marvel's The Avengers was the kind of easy access, well done, done-in-one superhero story I'm always advocating and Wolverine: Origin of an X-Man was a kid-friendly* version of the character that makes me more than a little uncomfortable. But it's undeniable kids like the character, and better they read this than see the movie currently in theaters. Plus if Logan helps them find their way to comic adaptations of "good books" (inside there's an ad with the Hulk attempting to bench press copies of Marvel's versions of Kidnapped and The Odyssey under the headline "Be A Superhero Read A Classic") so much the better.
Personally, I have no complaints about these free comics being smaller than standard comic book size, but knowing Marvel the way I do I suspect if we retailers don't complain as long and as loud as we possibly can they will take our silence as implicit permission to one day shrink their entire line as a cost saving measure (without lowering prices of course).
There's nothing particularly wrong with DC's Blackest Night #0 except it sets up one of "those" events, the kind I'm going to pretend isn't happening while waiting for it to blow over. It doesn't help that I didn't like its plot the first time I read it back in the 70s when The Avengers fought The Legion of the Unliving (a.k.a. The Original All-Zombie Squad). I'm really not sure which is more distasteful, seeing the Golden Age Superman as a Black Lantern or knowing DC is ok with it.
Even if (maybe you should make that "especially if") you're not a fan of either Golden Age comics or the Savage Dragon you're likely to enjoy the jam packed Image offering Savage Dragon #148. As well as summarizing the entire history of the character and the current storyline it features a most satisfying team-up with the original Daredevil and reintroduces The Little Wise Guys. As glad as I am to see them I can't help but think Dragon is right; his world is a little too violent for a 40s kids gang to survive in. Yeah, I know team member Meatball was killed in action early on but I keep imagining all the horrible things Eric Larsen could do to poor little Pee Wee…
In spite of all of the above it also manages to tell a complete story with an actual ending, plus it gets special props for the classic Charles Atlas ad on the back cover. However in a text piece Larson denigrates the later Charles Biro version of Daredevil as a "guy who advises kids how to get their homework done in a timely manner." I've read those stories and while Larson definitely has a point when it comes to telling stories about social justice and human feeling he, like most modern creators, could learn a few things from Biro.
The John Stanley Library Featuring Nancy & Melvin Monster was a delight but if I had to pick just one FCBD comic as my favorite it would just have to be the Atomic Robo/ Drone / We Kill Monsters sampler from Red 5. It contains "Why Atomic Robo Hates Dr. Dinosaur" where Robo acquires his first actual supervillain, which goes even worse than you could possibly imagine.
And allow me to say a sad farewell to the Geoff Johns and Dale Eaglesham run on Justice Society of America. It was one of the very few comic books I actually bought for myself year after year and never grew tired of, and their final issue #26, "Black Adam Ruined My Birthday!," is the perfect example of why. It wasn't the slugfests and epic guest star laden storylines, nice as they were, but never forgetting that when it came to superhumans the super should always come second.
* Every time I come across the term "kid friendly," I always see it in caps, as in Kid Friendly, which, to me anyway, sounds like the cowboy host of a local 60s kids show.
The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.
Column by Steve Bennett
May 6 2009 @ 12:00 am CT
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