I wish I had read more comic books as a kid. I read almost everything I could get my hands on, but not comic books. Part of the reason was location. Growing up in a small town on Bayou Lafourche, we did not have access to a comic book store. Libraries are great, and I sure used mine, but it really was not until recently that most libraries started carrying comic books/graphic novels. As a teacher, I would like to have a do over in my time in New Orleans Public Schools and introduce my students to comic books and graphic novels. Comics are a great way to get people interested in reading. They are great for people who have trouble visualizing what they read. They often discuss difficult subjects which can lead to discussions about current issues. Think about it, the most political movie of this decade might be Captain America: The Winter Soldier. That is why we woke up early and headed out to Metairie and New Orleans on May 2 for Free Comic Book Day. Free Comic Book Day celebrates comic book stores by having them give out free comics. Of course, the goal is to support comic book stores in return by buying some comic books, toys, cards, dice, and any of their other wares. It’s a great day to entice children to read as there are many comics geared to all age levels and to kids of all ages (adults too!). Because most comic books are serial in nature, the comic book industry hopes that you will return to the stores at least monthly to purchase the next issue in the series.
Comic books are still relatively inexpensive. Of course, they are not 35 cents anymore, but $3.50 is not bad for a once a month purchase. There are certain comic books we collect. Cristina is collecting the new reboot by Marvel of Star Wars, Darth Vader, and Princess Leia, as well as Howard the Duck and Loki: Agent of Asgard. I am collecting Marvel’s Spider-Gwen, as well as IDW’s Star Trek/Planet of the Apes and Millennium. We also look for back issues. Cristina looks for Zelda comics, and I love the Classics Illustrated series. Unlike when I was a kid, we have access to some great comic books in the area. Media Underground and BSI Comics in Metairie are two of our favorites. We also love Crescent City Comics on Freret St. and More Fun Comics on Oak Street when we are in New Orleans. While we did not visit each store on comic book day, we enjoy each one. All exhibit great customer service and really enjoy what they do. Being relative newbies in this area of nerdom, we have never once felt that way when we walk into these stores. For Free Comic Book Day, we first headed to BSI. Our friend and colleague, Bill Plasse, was there with his Bast Alpha Garrison of the 501st Legion. We got there about an hour after opening and the line was already out the door. This is especially impressive in that the free comics were upstairs so the line inside was equally long. There were parents there with children. The BSI staff did a great job with these kids in asking them for the kinds of things they were interested in and trying to find comics to match that interest. BSI has a very loyal following and it is easy to see why. They understand creating customers for life.
We did get two comics we wanted there. We were able to get the Secret Wars and Avengers comics, but, unfortunately, they were out of Doctor Who and the Simpsons. We did not arrive early enough! BSI also invited artists to sell prints and local authors to sell their books. We picked up three cool prints, a Nightmare Before Christmas one by Preston Asevedo (one of Cristina’s favorite movies) and two that involve DC characters in New Orleans settings by Josh Wingerter. Finally, we also made sure we carried out the purpose of Free Comic Book Day. Cristina bought the newest issues of Star Wars and Princess Leia. In addition to the comics, novelists, and artists, BSI also had NolaNerdCast recording a live version of their fantastic podcast. We highly recommend you check out their podcasts!
Next, we headed to Oak Street. More Fun Comics is one of my favorite stores. One of the services they provide is that they will set up “subscriptions” for you. Millennium is not a large run comic. It is based on a cult TV show and it seems that it’s a cult comic as well. For some reason, I completely missed the second issue of Millennium when it came out. More Fun not only offered to order it but to put aside all new issues for me when they arrive at the store. This was perfect for me because events in April made it virtually impossible to make it to the store. Meanwhile, Cristina was checking out the free comic books. Lo and behold, they had the Doctor Who and The Simpsons issue she was looking for.
We passed by Crescent City Comics, but not having anything else to buy and that fact that we were hungry, we did not stop. If the line was any indication, they were having a very successful day in spite of us not getting to them. Luckily, Company Burger is only a block from their shop.
Before continuing our comic themed day, we went to Euclid Records and Pizza Delicious in the Bywater. No, we did not eat another meal. While I cannot recommend their pies enough (and they sell by the slice as well), they do make some of the best cookies around. However, this led to me showing how I should not be allowed to use twitter.
Next up was the Avengers: Age of Ultron. In other words, we had a great NOLA Nerd Couple day.