Reading: Free Comic Book Day!

Every year, your local participating comic shop hosts Free Comic Book Day!  That’s right, you can go to your local comic book shop and get free comics.

The New Orleans area has some great comic book stores three which we frequent often.  Our comic shop is BSI Comics in Metairie.  However, we highly recommend More Fun Comics and Crescent City Comics as we often shop there when we are in that area.  Heroes Corner in Metairie is also fantastic.  Kenner also has a great shop across from Wal-Mart whose name escapes me at the moment.

Each comic book store has their own little party.  BSI will have author Blake Petit and actor Jason Carter from Babylon 5.  Crescent City will be having a sidewalk party including a lemonade stand since it’s also lemonade stand day.  The 501st usually appears at more than one shop. A quick facebook or google search will let you know what your local store is planning.

Remember, though, that the old adage of nothing is actually for free.  Your comic book shop  has to pay for those comics.  The point of Free Comic Book Day is to get bodies in the stores.  If people enter the store, then they might be inspired to buy something. So PLEASE buy something if you go.  Comic book stores often have great trade paperbacks (I highly recommend Vision or Darth Vader), toys, and other collectibles.  Pick a comic and start a pull folder in which the shop pulls comics for you and stores them for when you can make it.  The only thing about a pull folder is that the store is placing their trust in you that you will pick up your comics on a very regular basis. If not, they are losing money.

Free Comic Book Day is for readers.  Not for just comic readers.  There is some great literature being produced in the medium, so don’t let the medium stop you.  As a teacher, I can not recommend comics enough for young kids and for children who don’t like reading.  Also, don’t be discouraged by the Simpsons comic book shop persona.  We visit comic book stores in every town we visit, and we are always welcomed and given recommendations.  The stores I’ve listed above all are run by wonderful people who love talking to comics with expert collectors and novices alike.  In most cases, I think they like the novices more because (a) they are potential new customers and (b) they are possible new people to talk comics with!

So go get some free comics and pay for some as well!

See you at the comic shop!

 

 

 

Star Wars-ing: Star Wars Issues 1-12

Star Wars is the main title of Marvel’s new Star Wars Comic line.  This comic is officially canon and takes place between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back.

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The story focuses on the three main characters of Luke, Leia, and Han. Luke has been told he is a Jedi, but there is no one to train him on how to become a Jedi.  Luke is on a hero’s journey and this shows him truly struggling with his new found but unfocused powers.  Like Empire, he quickly separates himself from the other two main characters to find himself (which isn’t as hokey as it sounds).

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Star Wars-ing: Darth Vader Issues 1-12

Darth Vader in A New Hope was a perfect as a villain that you could have.  With no origin story developed yet, he was an absolute evil being.  He has no issue with blowing up a planet.  He kills a man who we identify, along with Luke, as a father figure. And, most terrifying, he survives.  We have no idea when Empire starts that the movies are not about Luke at all.  They are about Lord Vader and his story. He isn’t an absolute evil character, but a terribly flawed individual who bears the weight of the galaxy on his shoulders.  It was a brilliant storytelling conceit, even though the stories themselves in the prequels were fumbled. Even The Force Awakens has the shadow of his presence. As a character, Vader has few peers.

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It had to be intimidating for comic writer Kieron Gillen to pick a story about Vader.  The Darth Vader comics, which started in February 2015 and end in the next month, takes place between A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back.  Vader is a weird place.  He is assigned the blame for the Death Star blowing up.  Being a sith, he doesn’t have many peers but now he doesn’t even have a master finding disfavor with his master.  Vader in this storyline is making sure that he alone is the Emperor’s only right hand.  He enlists Aprha an archeologist of weapons and weaponized droid. She reactivates Triple-Zero and BT-1.  These droids are the negative image of C3PO and R2-D2. Triple-Zero is a protocol droid who relishes torturing others and BT-1 is R2 if he was a serial killer.

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Gillen’s Vader is man who has his back up against the wall making him a most dangerous man. Vader is desperate but calculating.  He knows his enemies and trusts no one.  However, there is still some of Anakin there.  Well, dark side Anakin as when he takes out a colony of Tuscan Raiders. He also is harboring a secret.  Darth Vader is meant to be read at the same time as Star Wars (I would go with Comic Book Herald’s reading order for all the Star Wars titles if you have access to them…this story does stand on its own as well). In one episode that takes place in Star Wars, he comes across Luke Skywalker and has a hunch that the two are really close.  He doesn’t tell the Emperor. So not only is he in disfavor he is harboring a secret from the one person who happens to be afraid of.  To make matters worse, this set, which is placed in one collection, ends with Vader landing on a hostile planet…alone.

Gillen’s Vader is a terrifying character but one whose motivations we understand. He is a solitary figure who is being cut off from the one person who has any kind of connection with. He is dangerous.  The supporting cast is fantastic as well.  Triple-Zero is quickly becoming one of my favorite characters in all of Star Wars. He is C3PO if he was programmed by Patrick Bateman. Aprha is a person searching for a father figure, and even though she knows that Vader can never truly fill that role, she wants to please him. Of course, it’s partially out of fear, but it is also because she wants to make him proud of her. The highlights of issues 1-12 are when we see what Vader is thinking.  Gillen scripts flashbacks at perfect parts of the story.

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This is where artist Salvador Larroca comes in and pushes Darth Vader to one of the best comics I have read so far. There are moments when the panel focuses on Vader’s face.  I swear you can see Vader’s mask emote.  I’m not sure how he does it, but I’m not the only one who has thought so.  Ms. Nola Nerd Couple and I had conversations about it and it ended up in the letters section of the comic as well.  Drawing Darth Vader is no easy task considering that a large section of the cast is droids or Vader.  Yet, Lorroca does it beautifully.

I’ve reviewed two Star Wars titles now.  Both are fantastic.  Can they keep it up?  Next week, I’ll review Star Wars, the main comics title.

Star Wars-ing: Princess Leia

When I first read Princess Leia, I thought it was a light story that was ok. In fact, I wasn’t even going to review it. Then for some reason, I couldn’t shake the story. I kept thinking about it. So I gave it a reread. It’s not light at all. In fact, I think its one of the best comics I’ve read in some time.

Mark Waid wrote the story with Terry Dodson doing the pencils and Rachel Dodson inking the series. Jordie Bellaire colored the run.

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The story picks up where Episode IV ends. We are at the medal ceremony and our heroes are parting ways. However, every one treats Leia as she should be grieving. She should; her planet was blown to bits in front of her. Because of interplanetary travel, there are surviving Alderaanians. This becomes the mission of Leia in this 5 issue run.

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Reading: Nerd Links! (June 19, 2016)

A round-up of this week’s best nerd related links:

Every Day is Like Wednesday Rereads Secret War: It’s no secret that most comic book fans have an on and off again relationship with Brian Michael Bendis. J. Caleb Mozzocco gives a very detailed (spoilers if you haven’t read this over ten-year-old comic event) analysis. The best thing about Mozzocco’s blog is that he doesn’t hold back what he thinks.

Gamestop Interviews Tom King and David Finch: The new creators of Batman discuss Batman’s role in Gotham. Is Batman the hero that Gotham deserves when he really doesn’t possess superpowers like Superman, Green Lantern, and Flash? He can take down a bad guy, but can he stop a catastrophe? I really liked King’s first script and this provides some insights as to where he is going with the series.

All New Showcase Episode 323 Rebirth Roundup: The long-running All New Showcase’s newest episode provides a comprehensive roundup of the DC Rebirth releases. Nola Nerd Couple found this extremely useful in filling in the gaps of our DC knowledge. Mr. Nola Nerd Couple almost went to BSI Comics and told them to put all of DC’s titles in his pull folder after listening to this podcast.  Almost.

Longbox Episode 26 Aquaman and Kevin Smith:  The comic book historians discuss Aquaman and play a portion of the Kevin Smith Q&A during his stop in New Orleans for his tour. We couldn’t make it to the Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes podcast so we were excited to hear this.

Ramsay Snow Bolton, A Saist Dark and Full of Terrors: Dr. Travis Langley explores the psychological aspects of sci-fi, fantasy, superheroes, etc., and here he takes a look a the character of Ramsay Bolton. Ramsay, obviously, has all sorts of issues, and probably is beyond psychologist’s help!

 

Word Balloon Podcast Superman Vs Ali & Watchmen invades DC Rebirth W Neal Adams Dave Gibbons Ed Brubaker & Brian Azzarello:  Ok this one is technically from last week, but I just listened to it last night. The  highlight for me was listening to Brubaker and Gibbons talk about creator rights in comic books.
 

 

Reviewing: Star Trek/Planet of the Apes: The Primate Directive

Nola Nerd Couple started seriously collecting comic books in 2014.  Unfortunately for me, my palindromic rheumatism started around the same time.  So, I was buying  comic books that I didn’t read.  When I wasn’t in pain, I was reading books for grad schools. A lot of books just found a space in our long box and sadly were not read.

Until now.

One of the  comics I collected at that time was Star Trek/Planet of the Apes: The Primate Directive by Scott and David Tipton with artwork by Rachael Stott.  Star Trek got me through college and growing up Charlton Heston could do no wrong according to my mom. In other words, two of my favorite sci-fi franchises were combined in one story.

 

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The Primate Directive #1.  Buy it at IDW

 

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Reviewing: The Paybacks Vol 1

One of the best things to happen at Space City Comic Con was meeting Donny Cates, Eliot Rahal, and Geoff Shaw. These creators have made a fantastic comic called The Paybacks. Vol 1, Payback’s a Bitch is out now. New issues for Volume 2 will be released in July.

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The plot, by Mr Cates and Mr Rahal,  is simple but ingenious. Not every superhero can be Tony Stark or Bruce Wayne.  Specifically, they don’t have those guys bank accounts. Yet, a superhero needs to have toys. What happens when they can’t keep up with the payments? I mean, saving people is nice, but do superheroes bill people after. Plus, liability insurance and other factors come into play causing this particular job not to be a lucrative one. In other words, the creative team discovers a side of being a superhero that most of us can relate to.

In this story, there is a shadowy figure who calls in superhero loans. This figure, Mr. Pierce, seizes their assets and in some cases causes others to become basically indentured servants. In other words, some superheroes become repo men. However, someone his beating these heroes to their targets and killing them. When they do, they write, in blood, “Payback is a bitch” on the wall.

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This seems like very serious stuff, and it is. However, it is also laugh out loud funny.  People get cut off before telling their origin story and a hero recite Rorschach’s line about being locked up with him right as he gets knocked out.. There is a Russian character that is treated as if he’s not all there till you find out he is entirely fluent in Spanish. He also misquotes famous movie lines in English (my favorite being the line from They Live!).

Not only is the story there, but it is also wonderfully drawn. There is an attention to detail by Mr. Shaw that I often find lacking in other books.  Lauren Affe also gives the story bright colors but with enough shadows to enhance the mood of the story being a thriller.

The only complaint is that the story ends on a giant cliffhanger. We need to know what happens. This book was published by Dark Horse Books. However, Dark Horse canceled the series, but did release the first four books as one volume and gave the creators permission to carry on the story elsewhere.  Heavy Metal will publish the next set of comics and should come out in July.

I’m letting my comic book store know to put it in my pull folder.