Whirlwinds and Funny Books

Bit of a crazy weekend, this one.  Anyone into comics or friends into comics, online or otherwise, is most likely aware that Saturday just gone was Free Comic Book Day (FCBD from here on out) which for some retailers is a huge day full of massive queues, special guests and often some pretty decent sales.  For me, the first part of my day was spent at Nostalgia & Comics in Birmingham, they had a special opening time of 8:30 for those of us with standing orders, and had some of the regulars on hand in costume to help organise the day.  It went great, the atmosphere in Nostalgia is always very warm and welcoming, but with FCBD being a wonderful opportunity to bring in new readers so an extra effort is put in to showing these newbies that places like this are fun, filled with fun stuff.  For me, an existing reader, I don’t tend to expect too much from the free titles themselves.  Last year was a bit of an exception, getting issue #0 of “Futures End” from DC was nice, this year was basically a preview book for Batman, Superman and Justice League.  All good and well, but frankly I’ll be reading all 3 of those titles when they come out and could have quite happily waited until then.  On the flip side, it gave a good taste of things to come for either new or lapsed readers so I can absolutely see the benefit to doing things this way.

At the end of the day, without readers we have no hobby, if more and more join the ranks then it’s to the benefit of reader and publisher alike.  Never forget that.

Anyway, the big win for me was from Graphix, a little book called Cleopatra in Space.  Sounds kind of odd, right?  Well, it is I guess, it’s also pretty funny but more importantly it’s a perfect example of an all-ages book.  I would have most likely skipped over this title if it wasn’t for the fact that I was already familiar with it’s creator, Mike Maihack.  Maihack has been running a series of Supergirl/Batgirl strips over here on his website and, frankly, they rock.  His own book has a very similar style to those strips, meaning I will absolutely be buying more of his work moving forward.  So, once again, job done FCBD.


It’s worth remembering though that FCBD titles might be free for us, but the stores that get them in and often throw these wonderful days for us have to pay for each title.  It’s a small cost per book, sure, but if they’re bringing in a decent number of each title and paying shipping on top of that it adds up, so when you’re visiting these shops, buy something.  It’s only fair, you take a little so you give a little back.  Maybe you’ve had your eye on an action figure for a while, maybe you’ve been considering giving a different title a go with the first trade paperback.  FCBD is the perfect opportunity to take that leap and give back to the store.

On the other hand, some stores don’t really seem to give much of a crap about it, evidenced by the total lack of effort in the new Forbidden Planet Megastore in Birmingham.  I mean, aside from my relatively negative impressions of the store on the whole, rather than giving you any choice over which FCBD titles you might want you are simply handed a bag with four random titles in there, none of which I was interested in.  All the staff were just in standard uniforms, unlike Nostalgia who had staff dressed up in a variety of comic book costumes and there was nothing put on sale or anything like that, again, unlike Nostalgia.  It wasn’t celebrated in any way at all, I thought they were missing a trick or five but the stark reality is Nostalgia is a comic shop, Forbidden Planet is not.  Nostalgia is run by comic fans, people with a broad knowledge of comics and superheroes from all eras, Forbidden Planet is, well, white washed and corporate.  But, you know what, this is a rant for another time.

FCBD wasn’t the only thing stopping me from getting a timely post done this weekend.  Day job on Sunday was a bit of a hurdle, but not something that would normally get in my way too much.  No, the issue was going almost straight from Birmingham to a local retail park to pick up a Playstation 4, because one new gen console is obviously not enough.  Already excited to get my hands on Bloodborne (a really, really hard game by the way) I was even more sold on it when I got it set up and realised I could download DC Universe Online.  I’ll be picking up Mortal Kombat in a couple of weeks and will be eagerly awaiting both Planetside 2 a H1Z1 when they eventually release on the console.  I’ve never really bought into the whole console war bullshit.  Format war, in fact, since the so-called “PC master race” like to get involved and paint themselves superior every now and then.  You know what, I bought an Xbox One because I already had an extensive friends list from my 360 years, most of whom were upgrading to Microsoft’s newest console, meaning it made the most sense for online multiplayer.  But both have advantages and disadvantages, both have exclusives either out now or on their way that I want to play and so I decided some time ago I wouldn’t be tying myself down permanently to one or the other.  Oh, and yeah I play PC games too.  I just didn’t develop a misplaced superiority complex through it.

Anyway, this wound up being a bit ranty which coming off the back of an awesome weekend seems a bit silly.  I’ll have another post up later today, one I was working on before the weekend which ended up massively derailed by all of the above.  Oh and one more thing, Sunstone Volume 2, which was out Wednesday, was absolutely bloody perfect!  I’ll be going into it some more (again) in my later post, but good god if you haven’t bought a copy by now just go and do it.  Now.

And happy Star Wars day everyone!


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