Sweet freedom

May 7, 2006

I’ve willfully ignored the spirit of Free Comic Book Day. I could have taken advantage of the opportunity to sample new books, but… but… Amelia Rules! Free Scott Pilgrim! Owly!

The local shop always participates and throws a bunch of extras into the mix, which is nice, but it only orders a limited supply of the FCBD books. As a result, the shop asks visitors to pick just a few of those instead of snatching up everything they can lay their hands on. That seems perfectly fair to me, because it is supplementing the FCBD offerings with other comics, manga, and toys. But it does have the effect of making me limit myself to books I know I’ll like rather than being particularly adventuresome.

I did pick a copy of the Drawn & Quarterly offering, and I’m so glad I did. Philippe Dupuy and Charles Berberian’s Mr. Jean stories were a really entertaining discovery, and I’ll definitely be looking for Get a Life and Maybe Later. “Women and Children First” and “Cathy (Norvegienne Woude)” were filled with quiet comedy and sharp observations that kept the slice-of-life stories from being at all banal. (I was pretty much smitten by the point where Jean was taunted by his feet in the bathtub, and completely hooked afterwards.)

The sampling of Moomin strips sold me on the upcoming collection as well. These adventures of a family of pampered hippo-esque creatures are delightfully weird.

So, kudos to D&Q for putting together such an effective package. I know my future purchases won’t completely offset the cost of their FCBD product, but hey, they turned at least one browser into a buyer.

As for the other books, they represent everything Jimmy Gownley, Bryan Lee O’Malley, and Andy Runton do so well. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.