Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

05 May 2007, 10:26 a.m.

Free Comic Book Day

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2007 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

Via BoogaBooga: Salon's guide to the samples you can grab on Free Comic Book Day (which is today). The Fantagraphics Unseen Peanuts collection looks the coolest.

As long as I'm hawking comics, I may as well put down for posterity the stuff I've bought. I mostly got these at Midtown Comics at Times Square, with a smattering from Forbidden Planet NYC, Comic Relief on Shattuck (formerly on University) in Berkeley, and Comic Outpost (warning: music starts playing if you click that link) on Ocean Avenue in San Francisco.

  • Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan. If you don't count the Amar Chitra Katha and four or five random superhero or PSA comics I read when I was a kid, Y was my intro funnybook. I believe Sheerly Avni is to blame. Volume 9 of the anthologized trade paperbacks comes out next week -- Wednesday, specifically. It will probably sell out, if my experience is any guide. It collects issues #49-53, and since there will be a total of 60 issues, that means there's only one collection to go, maybe two. I like knowing that reading Y is not an open-ended commitment.
  • Ex Machina, also by Vaughan. Recommended even by people who aren't me.
  • Runaways by Vaughan. Notice a trend?
  • The Escapists six-issue limited series by Vaughan, and the third Michael Chabon Presents: The Amazing Adventures of The Escapist volume, which contains an Escapist story by Vaughan
  • Doctor Strange: The Oath, issue 1 of 5, by Vaughan - I should get the rest of these.
  • Pride of Baghdad, a standalone graphic novel by Vaughan
  • Fables volumes 1-3. Hal at Midtown recommended the series, but it got boring so I didn't finish the third collection, but maybe I'll try again.
  • The 9/11 Report graphic adaptation (terrific)
  • Action Philosophers volumes 1 and 2, as well as some single issues. So awesome.
  • She-Hulk (the hilarious 2000-era reboot), volumes 1-4. Collecting this gets confusing because of changing series names and issue renumbering. Hey, at least I'm not trying to keep up with Marvel's Civil War.
  • Telgemeier's two Baby-Sitters Club graphic novels
  • DC Universe: The Stories of Alan Moore, including the legendary Batman story The Killing Joke. Highly recommended.
  • Superman: Red Son (great)
  • Batman: Detective 27 (bleh)
  • Alan Moore: Top Ten, volume 1. Not compelling enough to keep reading.
  • "What Were They Thinking?" from Boom!; Leonard and I love this series.
  • Three Tales from the Public Domain issues from the possibly defunct Baaar-Sum Comics. Also a Leonard favorite.
  • Cthulhu stuff from Boom! for Leonard. He's the judge of that.
  • Issues of Ambush Bug and Son of Ambush Bug - also for Leonard.
  • A few issues of The Nightly News by Jonathan Hickman - basically Chomsky meets Tufte.
  • The first two issues of New Universal by Warren Ellis and Salvador Larroca. Maybe I should just read Transmetropolitan like everybody recommends before going further with this admittedly entertaining story, since New Universal looks pretty epic and therefore time-consuming.
  • Some of the new Indian Virgin comics, e.g., Sadhu issues 1 and 2. Boring, if pretty.
  • Marvel's Spiderman: India, volume 1. Blah.
  • Dr. DeBunko: Debunker of the Supernatural, issue #1, by Chris Wisnia, from Salt-Peter Press. Very funny.
  • Elephantmen issues 1-3, which I got because one had Ganesha on the cover, and which I have not actually read. I'll remedy that this weekend.

I'll do a different list sometime for the webcomic collections. And I've read some classics (most noticeably Watchmen and some great Batman tales) that aren't on this list because I borrowed them. Given that, wow, this was a longer list than I'd expected to write. No wonder Midtown Comics is still in business.

Today's recommendation: Find your local participating comics store, get the Peanuts sampler, and buy the first volume of Ex Machina, an issue of Action Philosophers or What Were They Thinking?, or the paperback DC Universe: The Stories of Alan Moore. Unless you already have comics predilections, in which case you should comment on this entry or write your own blog post with recommendations and arguments. (Zed, thank you for She-Hulk -- now give me more!)