May the Fourth Be With You, because two pop culture events collided together to provide the public with a gaze at what it’s like to be a Star Wars fan and comic book aficionado. While people walked the streets in costume, the children may well be enjoying the sun in a park, reading the latest antics from popular brands like Spongebob Squarepants, Sesame Street or Strawberry Shortcake. An older crowd may have been going for regular favourites like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Star Wars or X-men.
But as for whether the latter events was intentionally planned to coincide this year or not, the late morning had downtown Victoria, B.C. slowly being occupied by fans from all walks of life — and curiosity seekers with their young ones — walking along the corner of where Johnston Street and Broad meet.
This block is what some locals affectionately call “Comic Book Row” or “Geek Central.”
Along one stretch sits Yellowjacket Comics, Legends Comics & Books and Curious Comics. They were distributing their free comic book day wares whilst Games Workshop and Audio Video Replay took on other corners. Although the video store was not fully into the act, they were; standing by the entrance is a statue of Princess Leia, created in the style of Genndy Tartakovsy’s Clone Wars cartoon.
But Star Wars fans should take note: a few doors north is Cherry Bomb Toys. They stock plenty of comic book and Star Wars collectables to make celebrating the day mighty.
Back in the comic book stores, patrons could hit all three stores to get their fill of free comics. Parents with children entered the fine hallowed rooms brushed with the scent of nostalgia. A smart thrifty shopper would realise they could come out with a haul of at least dozen comics after leaving the three stores.
But if they visit the Greater Victoria Public Library, more could be found.
Elementary school teacher and comic book artist Jonathon Dalton was hard at work sketching and talking about his technique. One title that caught this reporter’s eye was, “Lords of Death and Life,” a novella inspired by Mayan and Aztec mythology. He spoke how this world is unexplored in the world of graphic novel literature, and perhaps he is right.
Perhaps with all the fear of Doomsday approaching last year, the culture got a bad reputation. With that date now behind us, people can look forward to a brighter future, and to looking at what this fascinating culture has to behold.
As for what hidden gems that were to be found at the library, there was a small comic box with random comics from the past decade a patron could grab. If a reader looks carefully, maybe he or she will find a title that will stand out from the sea of free graphic novel literature. Sometimes, just having a box of random comics is just as good to get more people reading than the same ol’ material anyone can grab.