May 3, 2010

Free Comic Book Day 2010, and the First Comic Book I Ever Bought

Yesterday was Free Comic Book Day, so I went over to a local comics shop to avail of the wonderful promos.

We could get only up to three of the FCBD-exclusive comics, so I took the Archie offering for Peachy, the DC Kids offering for my 5-year-old niece, and, for myself, I got Fractured Fables. I am firmly convinced that this is the best offering this year at FCBD, even if it was the only one I read.





The comedic takes on old fairy tales are a hoot, and even in this day and age when it's become a cliche to modernize and deconstruct fairy tales, the stories here are fresh, smart, and most of all, well done. My absolute favorite is the Rapunzel story. by Derek McCulloch and Anthony Peruzzo.


But the reason I love Free Comic Book Day is the sales. Every TPB and GN gets 20% off (which, unfortunately, if you look at the retail price in dollars, means that we pretty much just remove the international markup), but every single back issue goes for 50 pesos, which is the equivalent of just over a dollar.

I bought a lot of comics, including the entire set of Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson's Astro City: Local Heroes. I had always wanted to own an Astro City set, after having read Life in the Big City in the school library in college. It's well done and I'll have to say it is both Kurt Busiek's and Brent Anderson's masterpiece. I can't name many other Busiek stories that take you into the minds of the characters so well, and Brent Anderson's realistic style channels Neal Adams in a way that makes it all his own. The overall design work -- designing a logo for the Astro City Classic hotel, the newspaper, etc. -- makes you really feel like you're walking around in Astro City.



Speaking of Kurt Busiek, I also "replenished" some of my issues of the Busiek/George Perez Avengers run. I don't think George ever looked as good as he did than when he was drawing Avengers, save perhaps for Crisis on Infinite Earths. I have the first 15 issues of the original run, but because of wear and tear (I read them a lot when I was a young lad), a lot of them have fallen off the staples and whatnot. I replaced some of them, and now all I have to do is replace what's left.


But the real motherlode for me is coming across a huge stack of Ron Lim-drawn Silver Surfers. The Silver Surfer is the comic that got me addicted to comics, and Ron Lim was the guy whom I always thought drew the best Silver Surfer ever, bar none. I mean, LOOK HOW SHINY!



Basically, when I was a little kid, I thought that the Flash was the coolest character ever, mainly because he could run fast. I asked my brother then who in the Marvel Universe was the Flash's counterpart, and he said (wrongly, since the correct answer is Quicksilver) that it was the Silver Surfer. You can see the logic: the fastest one's counterpart is the fastest one. What he neglected to tell me was that the Silver Surfer was also the guy who drew the line between the regular superheroes and the cosmic beings, and he was essentially the most powerful character in the Marvel or any other universe that didn't claim to be a "god."

I may wonder now, as an adult, how they could pull off a long series with such a powerful character. Surely, someone so powerful can't have any challenges! But no, back then, at nine years old, I liked the Silver Surfer because he was the fastest, and because he could do anything. The primal power, to me, was enthralling.

But even if I did wonder how they could carry on with the challenge of writing someone so powerful, it was answered in the first comic book I ever bought with my own money, the Silver Surfer #51, which I bought for 50 pesos.



The story was character-driven, perhaps the first time I was exposed to such a beast. There were no villains, no strong action scenes, nothing. Just a flashback to Galactus's then-herald Nova contemplating about the nature of Galactus, and by extension, the nature of life itself. It seems a little like elementary philosophy now to jaded eyes, but to a nine-year-old boy, it was a planet of new ideas that were opened only by comics.

As I continued to collect Silver Surfer, I got more and more hooked. Ron Marz's writing and Ron Lim's art were the perfect combination, and when people criticize me for liking Superman, on account of his being too strong, that particular Silver Surfer run is one of the things I point to in order to argue that it is possible -- and often very interesting -- to write a character who is, for all intents and purposes, godlike.

Silver Surfer #51 is one of the comics in the boatload of comics I got on Free Comic Book Day. Nineteen years after originally purchasing it for 50 pesos, I bought it at its now-reduced price of... 50 pesos. It's lost none of its power, it's still dear to me,and I'll always think that no one can outdraw Ron Lim when it comes to the Silver Surfer. I look forward to putting it beside the original, beat-up copy I bought nineteen years ago, and having two copies to show people who visit my apartment.

2 comments:

Peachy said...

What apartment?

KIDDING!

I've never been into comics, but I'm trying hard now to think of what my first book was. I honestly think it was an Archie Double Digest!

Duy said...

Chomp chomp, Jughead!!

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