Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Free Comic Book Day at Comic Outpost

Crowd at the Outpost on Free Comic Book Day. Photo by
Bill Watters of Big Wow! Comicfest (San Jose Convention Center, May 18-19)

We really enjoyed Free Comic Book Day this year. Our favorite comics store in SF, the Comic Outpost had a special event, a taco truck, and a Timey Wimey Dr Who TV Party! And free comics! Who could ask for more?  I was pleased to see people of all ages, especially kids snapping up a wide range of free comics, from The Simpsons and The Mouse Guard to the latest promos from DC and Marvel (photo gallery).

2 books available on Free Comic Book Day.
I'm still making my way through my stack, and missed some issues that were gone by the time we arrived. So far my two favorites are Fantagraphics Prince Valiant and Valiant Masters (Valiant in titles coincidental).

As a child, I loved Prince Valiant in the newspapers. I was fascinated by Foster's drawings and the world he created, but had a hard time following the stories. Prince Valiant, I think, has greatly benefited from re-issues in book form. I can read and truly appreciate entire story arcs.  Valiant Masters showcases 4 new characters developed by creators like Jim Shooter, Barry Windsor-Smith, Joe Quesada, David Lapham and others. Space ninja! Spy ninja! Mythical fantasy warriors! Seemed very fun and retro to me.

Here's a view of 1 hour of the crowd at Comic Outpost condensed to 24 seconds!

Video by Gary Buechler of Comic Outpost.

Tim Boxell, Gary Buechler, Kim Munson & Marc Greenberg
enjoying Free Comic Book Day. Photo by Jay Jay.

Neil Gaiman - Make Good Art

Last year (2012), Neil Gaiman gave a heartfelt and inspiring speech to the graduating class of the University of the Arts, which has been passed around on Facebook almost as much as grumpy cat photos. His basic premise, which I need to be reminded of almost every day, is that shit happens, nothing is going to be perfect, but you have a unique voice, and you have to keep going and make good art anyway.

Here's the video on Vimeo, if this isn't working for some reason, you can view it on Gaiman's blog here.

The always amazing graphic designer Chip Kidd has designed a graphic/text print version of the speech, to be released in time for graduation this year. You can see the entire book on the HarperCollins site, and an outtake is available below.  As beautiful as the book is, I love to hear this in Gaiman's voice and in this short bit, which is one of the very best parts, you get both.

Problems? See it on UpWorthy.

Icons of the American Comic Book

I have an entry in this book, Icons of the American Comic Book from Captain America to Wonder Woman (published by ABC-CLIO in March) about the history of the Blade character, the development of the films, and their legacy. Blade was one of the first reoccurring African-American lead characters in comics and the success of the Blade trilogy starring Wesley Snipes kicked off the modern era of Marvel superhero films.

The book includes over 60 entries by a stellar line up of comics scholars, and I was honored to be included. Thanks to Randy Duncan & Matthew Smith for inviting me.