Free Comic Book Day

Happy Free Comic Book Day, readers! I hope you guys had an opportunity today to take part in the festivities!

This was my first FCBD, and I was nervous as I biked to my local comic book store because I had no idea what to expect. Were there going to be cosplayers? Should I have dressed up too? Dang it I knew I should have worn my Pacific Rim tee. When I arrived and stood in line, I did feel a bit awkward. Everyone in front of and behind me were either a parent waiting with their kid, or that said kid. (That’s suburbia for you.) But everyone was so friendly, and the store staff so welcoming, that I soon forgot to care. And it’s hard not to be excited when you’re surrounded by fellow fans, regardless of their age.

Since this was my first experience with FCBD, I have no idea how the selection of free comics this year compares. But in my opinion the spread was decent and pretty varied. There was Teen Titans, Power Rangers, a Les Mis adaptation, Rocket Raccoon, and about 10 other titles that I have since forgotten. The store I was visiting limited each patron to 3 free books. I chose the above:

  • Avatar: The Last Airbender
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Courtney Crumrin

I read all three when I got home. I was most excited for the Avatar one because GENE LUEN YANG AND FAITH ERIN HICKS OMG MY FAAAAVES. And I liked that story the best of the three. It’s a short but incredibly sweet tale about Sokka and Suki, and how they teach a timid young girl how to stand up to bullies. There’s one scene in particular that stood out to me. It’s where Sokka and Suki are in a shell store, and they witness a young girl being accused of being a fake shell collector simply because she’s a girl.

The moment I read “fake collector,” I became pretty darn convinced that this scene is an allusion to the “fake geek girl” problem—that idiotic behavior exhibited by male geeks (often but not exclusively within the context of comics) who bash on female geeks and accuse them of not being genuine fans, or being fans solely to solicit attention or street cred, or what have you … purely on the grounds of them being female. As I read on and witnessed Suki giving the jerk-of-a-store-owner what he deserved for his behavior, I cheered because the sexist attitude exhibited by the store owner got called out for the ridiculousness that it is. I’m really happy that the writers chose to address this issue, and I hope that it encourages the Fake Geek Patrol to stop with their gender-based policing. Or policing, period. It’s a waste of energy, a waste of time, it’s super destructive, and it’s super discouraging especially to new fans. Ultimately, such behavior comes from a place of arrogance and prejudice, and that has no place in comics—and geekdom as a whole.

Guardians of the Galaxy was all right. It was more of a prologue, or an introduction to all the guardians than a proper story. But I enjoyed it all the same, and appreciated the insight. I think, though, that it spoiled a few things for me in light of the upcoming movie. Baaaahh.

Courtney Crumrin was a bit too dark for my taste. I now regret not grabbing Rocket Raccoon instead. Or Teen Titans. Or Les Mis.

I wasn’t obligated to buy anything, but I felt bad at the idea of walking out without at least purchasing something, so I ended up buying some of the books from the Avatar series. I’ve read them before, but I’m a firm believer in buying books that you can read over and over again, and the Avatar books are definitely that. Gene Luen Yang did a great job on the writing, and the artwork by GURIHIRU is drool-inducing.

Readers — how was your FCBD experience this year? Which comics did you choose?

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