Saturday, May 1, 2010

How I Lost My Free Comic Book Day Virginity

For those of you who read comics, but are not aware, today is Free Comic Book Day. And this year was the first year that I participated in the joy, laughter, and fun as last year I did happen to be in a comic book store during this fabulous day, but I was also flying so high I could barely function. That and the Free Comic Books were right by the cash as opposed to the other books which were in the kind privacy of the back. Which is sad because I remember there being some pretty amazing free books last year. So that's my Anti-Drug message, don't smoke up on FBCD, kids!

This year I was determined to show, so I actually got up at 9 this morning to catch the 9:30 Saturday bus which is so unlike me. I'm the kind of person who regularly sleeps until 3 PM on weekends, and all my friends dislike me for it. For this FCBD, and most of my comic book needs, I went to the amazing Coast City Comics (which will probably have a post up soon of today's going-ons). Standing outside were the guys from the store dressed up as Booster Gold, Blue Beetle, and Wolverine which was pretty cool, and it was fun to be greeted by one of them as Mr. Hellfire. It's always a good day when someone refers to me as Mr. Hellfire since it's way more exciting than Scott. Besides Scott tends to be a name that I find creepers tend to have. Which then makes me paranoid that I'm a creeper. I mean, socially awkward? 100%. But creeper? Here's hoping not so much.

Another of the reasons to visit Coast City Co
mics besides the quarter bins, sales, and amazing selection is that the guys who work there all seem genuinely enthusiastic to be there and look to get people equally enthused about comic books. They're seriously nice guys and extremely helpful. And good at understanding my bumbling because it seems I turn into Hugh Grant whenever I go on solo shopping adventures. Which is unfortunate because what you read here is generally how I speak in real life, for as dumb or intelligent, fun or boring as you may find it. By the way, if you were there around 10 today, you may have seen me. Here's basically what I look like:

Basically French actor Louis Garrel + Johnny the Homicidal Maniac = Me
And yes I wear those boots daily. And no, I don't have a mohawk anymore.
Anyway, for those of you from around the area (I think there's a few here) feel free to say hi if you see me.
Moving on, I ended up getting a massive pile of comic books by the end of the day. I started off with a good quarter bin browse which I ended up getting a decent chunk of the old New Mutants (for the Emma Frost appearances and since I'm on the search for Magma's personality), that Blood + Water that I've heard a bit about, UXM #314 the one where Emma Frost takes over Iceman's body and finds out the Hellions are dead, AN ESSENTIAL ISSUE for any Emma Frost fan, anddd I also got more of the Fallen Angels mini-series for more past apparances of the dearly departed diva Ariel. That alone made for a massive chunk of reading material, but THEN I went for the Freebies.

Which was a complicated operation because everyone was getting their asses to that table, so it was a bit of a squeeze. Luckily, one of the guys saw me and just grabbed a stack of everything and said 'For one of our loyal customers,' or something to that effect which I'm completely grateful for. Like I'm reading every single one, even the damn G.I. Joe, and if you've read my blog just ONCE, you know I'm like borderline sexist to characters of my own gender. But for free? Free?! Do you know what that means to someone from my family?! (We're not broke or anything so much as my parents are garage sale nuts and treat Marden's like mecca.)

So yeah, FBCD was a success and I should have stayed longer, but I thought my bus was coming in an hour before it actually did. Thank heavens I had just gone out for reading material. And now I totally have to comment on it because I'll burst if I don't:

City of Bones
Giving evidence to the growing argument that if you've read one vampire story, you've read them all. It reads a lot like the awkward stories I used to write when I was 15 and it basically follows the vampire story format. Or one of them. And the main character is irritating (the girl, we can call her Bella).

The writing just comes across as sort of arrogant like, "Aren't my characters witty and cool?" which is basically the attempt of most people writing vampires these days. Everyone wants their vampire to be the most desired, and the result is a whole lot of telling without very much showing. However, this book had WONDERFUL art that has actually had modern looks for young adults in it. It was done by Nicole Virella so be sure to check her out and show support for your female comic book creators.

The Stuff of Legend
Stuff of Legend is a book I've seen around and heard it was amazing, but I eventually forgot about checking it out. Which was a mistake. This book is found on the other side of City of Bones as some of the books are double-sided with two stories (and some have like three or four, but anyway). The main idea of it is that this boy is kidnapped by the Boogeyman and his toys decide to go save him. It's immediately apparent that this is a well-done book. Also, it's easy to spot the badass Deadpool/Wolverine/Rorschach figure of the group, which is Jester, but I have to say I love the way he's designed and he seems to be the most appealing character. Anyway, definitely look to pick this one up.

Probably just a lo
cal thing, but this thing was sort of like a mini pamphlet that indie artists do to get their name out. It was basically like Jhonen Vasquez's Happy Noodle Boy except it makes that look sane and neat. With these sort of things I never know if I'm supposed to be looking deeper into each thing said, or just take it as crazy and just think about crazy from there. Like you'd have to see this thing, it's so damn odd, and I just have no idea how to take it besides just laugh.

From the Top Cow universe, a story about 13 Artifacts (including the Witchblade, The Darkness, The Spear of Destiny that Magdalena wields, and The Angelus), and how combined they do something to rework the earth. Not terribly original, but the art is amazing and I'm always in for a story about collecting things with special powers. Except the thing with these books is, I've read The Darkness. I got a shit ton of the first volume from quarter bins at one point. It was basically this: absurd amounts of sexism like the women he fights must get naked every time, he's always just badass-ing it, and the art just seems to adore focusing on the Darkness costume and ignoring things like background (and I mean, it's a phenom costume, but come on, guy). Limited character development, constant fighting with no real point, and it's just sort of a shallow mess. And this issue does nothing to show me that anything's changed. Oh and basically the setup of this issue is one woman android, Aphrodite, being briefed on the Artifacts with tons of T+A poses. And I mean, despite it's flaws the main idea still holds a lot of appeal to me. Even though I think a lot of Top Cow works are basically amazing ideas with great vibes and looks, with no work past that, just shallow cool factor. I mean, do correct me if I'm wrong, but it's how it seems from here.

The first story of this book is awesome, the art is phenomenal beyond your wildest dreams. It's about a guy who's a chauffeur for the dead. And it starts out in New Orleans with this guy who's a "healer" and an expert Voodoo things. And you might shit when you see who it is:

I felt like shouting at my book, "MORGAN FREEMANNN!!!!"
And he totally looks like him throughout the book. OH and by the way, the cover art for this book is from this story and it just thrills me all over. Also, I loved that the artist's little road to nowhere thing on one of the last pages. And I'm avoiding summarizing the plot of this story because I'll probably do it poorly and this story deserves better than that.

The other stories in this book are mostly dystopian-y sort of stories or ones in a "man's world" with more great art. Same thing really. Why is it that most dystopian stories look like a straight man's dream? Like shooting shit, fighting for your fucking lives, and screwing prostitutes (which every woman in the story is because apparently that's the only occupation available). Like seriously, I can't believe any straight man is convinced that this is a "horrible situation". It's practically their paradise compared to the real world because it's like their ID run wild. I mean I know not ALL, but I'd say a decent chunk.

Fame: Lady Gaga
Unfortunately, the book that I didn't end up getting was one I had been looking forward to. Yes, the Lady Gaga biography comic book. Don't hate me, my homosexuality alone excuses me from scorn from those of you who hate her. She just hypnotizes all of us with all those sequins. But anyway, fun fact is almost all of the reviews I've written in the past three months have been done while listening to her. She's on right now actually, the current track is "Teeth". I'm sorry she's so catchy.

Anyway, I downloaded this issue without guilt because it's FREE, And it turns out I didn't miss shit. The art was SO awkward, she looks so damn weird throughout. And it's not even about her, it's about some middle aged queen (he's got a wife but whatever) who secretly loves and worships her. If I wanted to hear about some nut worshipping a pop idol, I would've gone and watched [this]. (Watch the video, it's so bad it's good)

And the panel that made me laugh was the one to the right <---. Like she's been compared to pop divas like Madonna, Christina Aguilera, and Gwen Stefani. But now apparently she's also being compared to Barbra Streisand with this panel. Seriously, I'm so sure that that's "The Nose" and her hair is just the right length. And that just makes me imagine Babs doing a Gaga video. Which is a fun-in-all-the-wrong-ways sort of image. And that's all for this post, but I'll likely make another post because I have frigging Pride and Prejudice Zombies in my read pile and I'm already dying to talk about it.
Hope you all had a great Free Comic Book Day!


hasoon said...

Re: City of Bones, it always sucks when good art gets paired with lazy writing. I'll definitely check out that artist though - believable YA character designs? Please!

And as for Top Cow - yeah. basically amazing ideas with great vibes and looks, with no work past that, just shallow cool factor. I really dig the premises of the Witchblade, Aphrodite IX and the Magdalena but.. I read Witchblade for ages and apart from the nipplefest that it was I always wanted more from the stories. "It's over already?" was my basic reaction. Which sucks, because the whole universe-wide Artifacts thing is really nifty, too!

Mr. Hellfire said...

Yeah, the designs for this one were based on alternative scene looks, and for the most part it looked pretty current. I don't know how she is with just general style, it'd be amazing if she was like Adrian Alphona in Runaways because that was going above and beyond. Like I saw Alphona's style designs and I wanted to wear half of them.

Egh, I have the Magdalena introduction thing in my issues of The Darkness and I could not stand her at all. But of course, I think the one I saw died during that arc, so yeah, maybe later ones were better.

hasoon said...

Alphona, Alphona. King of comic book character design. He should be getting ALL the work.

I mostly like the Magdalena because she was a supportive female friend for Sara when she (the version I knew, anyway) was in Witchblade, which was.. pretty darn rare. Plus I just find it hard to say no to Catholic Secret Weapons. It's unoriginal, but what can I say?

Mr. Hellfire said...

Or at least have something going on currently, I'd follow him to whatever work he'd do just because he's that great.

Mmm, I only knew of her doing the work for this corrupt priest who was twisting the Bible or some book associated for his evil purposes....yeah, because I haven't seen it in real life 30 million times. So I was just over it, plus the dialogue was REALLY cliched. "You must do this to serve your God," and so on.

hasoon said...

Haha, I think that was.. Rosalia? I knew Patience.

I don't remember what she was even supposed to be doing in Witchblade, but I remember I liked her cape.

Mr. Hellfire said...

Yeah, I think that was her name. And I think she ended up dying in the end anyway or something like that.

I find it hard to believe that Magdalena is now getting her own series. Not so much for her, but her surroundings, a corrupt church is nothing new and I really don't think a book can go far with a bunch of those sort of cliches.
Well, unless, the writer adds a new dimension to it, or refuses to go down the path of stereotypical characters.

captainfur said...

Oh my, Louis Garrel, I never overcame "The Dreamers"...

Also, Alphona rocks, period. But the whole "Artifacts" thing bored me to death (oh, by the way, your thoughts on "The Darkness" are pretty much the same I have), seems to me too similiar to what Johns made in "Green Lantern" (which wasn't invented by Johns at all, but I think it's too soon to make something like than again and try to avoid comparisons).

Mr. Hellfire said...

Louis Garrel just shocks me a bit because I find he resembles me quite a bit, yet I happen to find him attractive. Which makes me feel severely narcissistic.

And yeah, it seems that way. Even though I only know a little bit about the Green Lantern, I at least know about the rings situation.