By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
Free Comic Book Day is an annual ritual event for me to attend. With it operating for 15 years, that’s an impressive milestone to promote literacy and a love for the medium. Without it, I would not have discovered some great wonderous pieces of work like Jim Henson’s Labyrinth and David Petersen’s Mouse Guard. Although these stories are relegated to a single book edition of Boom! Studios Summer Blast, should I be disappointed?
When each comic store I hit limits the number of books I’m allowed to grab, I had to choose wisely. Although an original story was offered, sadly (and I hope to find it as leftovers when I head to town the next day) it had to be missed. The previous years were great when there was an issue dedicated to Mouse Guard. One of the reasons why I’m attracted to this series is the gorgeous art! Plus, the creator is a regular at Emerald City Comicon!
I was eager for this year’s event and did not even sleep since I wanted to grab Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom before this title disappeared. I’m eagerly waiting for Shout! Factory to release the animated movie. The comic book has been out for some time, but I somehow missed hearing about it.
When the stores here in Victoria, BC do not carry every title available, it’s easy to miss the odd gem. While I try to scan Diamond Press’ Previews advance order catalogue for the titles that I find exciting, just how I missed this title is still a mystery. I was busy in my final year in college at the time, so that may be the reason. Or, perhaps the stars were not right.
I arrived at Curious Comics, Legends Comics & Books and Yellowjacket Comics & Toys a few minutes before they opened and had my face pasted against the window to peer at what titles were brought in. I figured out what titles I wanted to grab the most. As I left one store, I saw Captain America (from Superheroes of Victoria) just standing around, in front of the Curious, posing for kids and adults who wanted a photo. To see him appear is to no doubt make folks aware that the movie, Captain America: Civil War, is here. With the Greater Victoria Public Library also joining in the fun a few blocks away (only the central branch participates), up to sixteen books can be obtained.
With 50 comics to choose from, the decision-making can be tough. The stores here bring in at least two-thirds of the entire run (by my count). A few titles might be harder to obtain. Of course, the selection depends on how much money the establishments are willing to spend to bring these free products in.
In what I grabbed this year was the Dark Horse sampler, which included Legend of Korra. I’m guessing they will be presenting all new stories in this latest chapter of the Last Avatar series very soon. With this book containing this company’s take on expanding the How to Train Your Dragon series, I was more than hopping with excitement! Other titles that caught my eye were DC Super Hero Girls, Lady Mechanika, The Phantom 80th Anniversary, ROM the Spaceknight and The Tick. I could have filled my quota, and I’m not greedy.
Unlike certain sampler comics, not everything is meant to be collectable. On eBay, which is a rough gauge on collectability, I’ve noticed a few titles since this programme’s inception supposedly grow in value. However, I think the idea of getting titles that are free to sell online is ridiculous. On eBay, a few folks are capitalising on offering complete sets at a cost! In a hobby such as this one, I’m just in it to enjoy reading and forget about profiteering. You can’t buy a new car with the selling of modern titles. The scarcer golden age comics (published 1959 or before), however, is a different matter.