Sunday, May 3, 2009

Kiel & Kegmeister's Excellent Free Comic Book Day

So I don't think there's really much more for me to say about Free Comic Book Day past that little rant I wrote the other day. BUT...I did have a great day and took a few photos that I had meant to post on CBR's Live! blog, and since my ability to login and post there didn't work out, I thought I'd throw them up here on a Sunday. [Although, you really should check the blog out for cool photos from tons of folks like Jonah Weiland, Remy Minnick, Image's Joe Keatinge, IDW's Chris Ryall and newly minted Archaia PR man and the most lovable man in comics: Mel Caylo.]

I started the day out at Dreamland Comics, what has been my local comic shop for the past few months. It's a nice shop and very well run by some friendly dudes. They don't always carry as many independent titles as I'd like or stock the ones they do have very deep. But hey...most stores don't. Overall, it's a great place to scratch the serial comics itch.

Highlights of the stop: I nabbed Blackest Night #0 which I really dug and IDW's G.I. Joe/Transformers flipbook thingy, which I think reprints older material but it was mostly stuff I hadn't read. On top of that, I dove into the two for a dollar bin at Dreamland looking for some dopey Wolverine comics since I realized with the movie I hadn't read one in a long time. I ended up getting one by Archie Goodwin and John Byrne and one by Larry Hama and Mark Texria that featured all the weirdo Weapon X characters in the movie. That qualifies as a dollar's worth of entertainment, me thinks.

Lowlights of the stop: There was this poor woman at the store who was having quite a hard time finding what she wanted. After first thinking that Free Comic Book Day meant she could have any one comic in the store for free, she relented and expressed interest in buying a recent Spider-Man comic she'd read about online but could remember the exact name or details of. The poor guy behind the counter tried his best to help her, but they couldn't figure it out (after taking her notes and googling once I got home, I think she was looking for this). When I left, she was perusing the actual display of FCBD one-shots Dreamland had in stock. I hope she found something she liked.

Later, I drove into Chicago and picked up Kegs at his place in Roscoe Village. Seeing as we both had appointments to keep later in the day, we decided that there was time for one shop only if we were going to take in the full experience, and agreed on Challengers Comics as the place to hit because neither of us had ever been and because Erik Larsen was doing a signing. Totally the right call on both accounts.

If you've never seen Challengers, the store has one of the sharpest exteriors I've seen on a comic shop, with multiple window murals featuring a wide range of characters including a few totally rad doors painted by Colleen Coover, like the above Mary Marvel. You can see a few better exterior shots of the whole store and Larsen's signing earlier in the day by checking out my bud Shaun Manning's entries on CBR Live! (Shaun and I ended up being proverbial ships in the...sunny Chicago streets for the day. Turns out he takes better, more comprehensive pics than me). Still, I snapped this pic of Aztek the Ultimate Man, so cool for me.

Highlights of the stop: Larsen, as expected, was a total hoot. I did an interview with the creator a few months back announcing that Image Comics' FCBD offering would be a regular issue of Larsen's Savage Dragon (#148) featuring the Golden Age Daredevil, so it was a treat to see the book come out and chat the artist up about it. Apparently, due to the long lead time needed to print and ship the FCBD editions, Larsen had to finish #148 before he did #147, which made getting the April issue completed and to the printer in time vital. Luckily, he did not have to pull a Wolverine.

I also picked up a bunch of great books I'd been missing out on of late, including Madman Atomic Comics #14, RASL #4, Jersey Gods #3 and, most importantly, the first issue of Chynna Clugston's new Blue Monday: Thieves Like Us mini, which I've been waiting for for seriously five years. To top it all off, as we were checking out, Larsen started adding a Savage Dragon sketch to Challengers' wall mural, a step by step of which I sloppily photographed:

I remember meeting Larsen at a con sometime early in high school and standing at his table with my friend Tony marveling at how he actually drew while holding his pencil the way he does. I don't even know how to describe his hand, but click on the above photo to get an idea. Does anyone else draw like that?

When the final product was complete, one of the shop employees commented that it looked like Larsen's rendition of the Dragon was staring down a version of the character drawn previously by a local artist. "Yeah," said Larsen. "He's kind of givin' him the dick eye."

Lowlights of the stop: Unfortunately, by that late in the day, whatever other FCBD options Challengers had besides the Dragon book were out. Obviously, no one can get all of the free comics offered on Free Comic Book Day, but I would have loved to check out some stuff like the Love & Rockets book or the John Stanley samplers Drawn & Quarterly put out. Ditto issue #60 of Invincible which has been sold out everywhere I go of late (Kegs can't find it either). Then again, the nice thing about good comics is that these days, there are multiple ways to check them out, and I'm sure I'll see all that material again soon. Plus, nothing could ruin the fun me and Kegmeister had, as evidenced by this snap I got of him and the comics he picked up:

So, how did your day go?


Jim Gibbons said...

Kiel, it's kind of trippy to think about you bumming around my home town and picking up comics at a store I used to visit next to a Quizno's where numerous High School lunch releases were spent.

Seriously man, next time you get comics at Dreamland, head down Milwaukee Ave for some Fodrak's! You will not be sorry!

Ben Morse said...

Dude, Erik Larsen did the very first sketch in my Nova sketchbook and I too was mystified by how he holds his pencil.

Ben Morse said...

Also, I totally blogged about the Hama/Tex Wolverine you grabbed earlier in the week!

KP said...

That was the issue you were talking about?!? HA!

I'm super pumped to read it now.

Jesse T. said...

Yes! Kegmeister!
I wandered into one comic shop late in the afternoon on Saturday, but at that point all they had left were free comics from years past: House of M Sketchbook, Metallix (Future Comics!), Batman: The 10-Cent Adventure, Transformers: Armada and maybe some crap CrossGen book (Way of the Rat?).
But the owner told me they'd had a bigger-than-expected crowd, so that's nice. And I got the TF book for my nephew.