Thursday, March 18, 2010

Still More of the Great Comics Giveway!

It's well into its second week and going over like gangbusters. And something unexpected happened today. Last week, a high school dude chose Astonishing X-Men: Torn, so I thought I'd give him Astonishing X-Men: Unstoppable this week. Instead, he decided he would rather have Alan Moore's V for Vendetta and one of the high school girls took Astonishing X-Men because she went absolutely gaga for John Cassaday's art.

"Did you take X-Men?" I asked her, because the book seemed to have suddenly vanished.

She grinned. "Yes, because I love the art!"

Not that I blame her. Those books are lovely to look at, and Unstoppable has Cassaday's handsome versions of practically every major Marvel character. It also has a tremendous image of an inverted Spider-Man high above Manhattan. Who wouldn't love that? It should be a freakin' poster already. So rest assured, John Cassaday-- you have at least one fan in Japan now. Well, two for now and one after I leave in May.

The other student, a high school girl, decided to choose between Batgirl: Silent Running and Batgirl: Death Wish.

"Which one is better?" she asked.

"They're both pretty good," I told her. "But Silent Running is the first one. I think. Or is it Death Wish? Yeah, Silent Running is the first one."

She wisely chose Silent Running. Later, I gave Death Wish to a woman close to my age and filled her in on the whole Cassandra Cain saga, then told her, "But after that, they ruined her." She smiled because she knows I'm a fool.

"Who is the writer?" she asked.

I pointed to the names on the cover. "Puckett... Scott... Those are their last names. In America, comics are written by one person, pencilled by another, then another person inks it and one more colors it. Oh yeah, then someone else puts all the letters on it."

She nodded and glanced down at her comic-by-committee. In Japan, a lot of comic artists use teams of assistants, but the books themselves are credited to a single author. And then there are creators like Yazawa Ai who work themselves sick turning out hundreds, even thousands of pages of art and story themselves.

I also gave away volumes one and three of Miyazaki Hayao's Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (to two different people), Will Eisner's Best of the Spirit (to a woman who recently learned she's pregnant with twins), Mike Allred's Madman Volume 1 (to the college student already reading and enjoying John Byrne's Compleat Next Men) and Tokyo Days Bangkok Nights (cringing after I realized how much nudity it contains).

Sharing comics is fun.

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