I hate to be dystopian in my view of the future. However, let me tell you something, America. As I travel around, I see these little hints of things to come. Maybe they’re omens and maybe they’re not.
God bless comic books. And God bless guys like Stan Lee, William Gaines, Don Martin, Al Jaffee, Sergio Aragones, Jack Davis, Mort Drucker, and Antonio Prohias. And while I’m commanding God to bless some people, let’s throw in all the people out there who produce and sell comics.
Why am I being so liberal with the blessings today? If it weren’t for comics, I would be illiterate. It’s true. I chose to read Daredevil as opposed to Great Expectations. I know I was supposed to read Madame Bovary. But I couldn’t. It was a stupid book about a spoiled French woman. And I was already occupied. I was pouring over a fold-in in the back of a Mad Magazine.
While my birth as a reader was hardly on the mean streets, it was nontraditional to say the least. And now I find myself in a disturbing place in America’s history. Are you aware that in the 1950’s there was a movement to do away with comic books? Why was that? There was a supposed link between reading comic books and juvenile delinquents. If Johnny read a copy of “The Vault of Horror” it would only be a matter of time before he became a switchblade-wheeling hot rodder. The funny thing about all of this is that the juvenile delinquents in the 1950’s actually read. Our delinquents are lucky if they can spell their neck tattoos correctly.
Yes, I’m back on the reading jag again. People just don’t read anymore. As further evidence, I present to you Free Comic Book Day. For those that aren’t in the know, that’s the first Saturday in May. Comic book publishers and stores give away thousands of free titles. Why? Altruism aside, it’s to get people back into the stores and reading again.
I decided to celebrate Free Comic Book Day at Beach Ball Comics in Anaheim. As one can gauge from the photos, there was quite a turnout. And why not? This store seems to be well run and managed without the comic book store attitude that might have sent you packing in the past.
I assure you that comics are just as great as you may remember. Not sure where to start? Give “The Sandman” by Neil Gaiman a try. If you’re looking for something on the bleak side, try some Alan Moore. But more than anything, I recommend that you head to a place like Beach Ball. Throw yourself on the mercy of the clerks. Let them know that you haven’t read any titles since the seventh grade. They would love to have you there and will gladly steer you in the right direction.