When: May 4th, 2013

What: Free Comic Book Day

Where: Criminal Records and Oxford Comics in Atlanta, Georgia

Today was my first Free Comic Book Day. Of course, I’d heard of it before. It’s promoted in single issues a lot, but I usually read TPBs, which causes me to miss out on various snacks marketed towards young children and Nintendo promotions. Still, I’ve seen the promotions before and my local comic shop Oxford Comics gives away Free Comic Books all year round. I’ve always thought highly of the idea and have been anxious to see it in action. Having been in China for the past years during this holiday, this was my first opportunity to witness it. I had a nice time. The weather could have been better. Blame Storm.

First, I went to Criminal Records, a comic and record shop in Little 5 Points that has always been dear to my heart, first as a record store and then as a comic book shop. In many ways, Criminal Records is responsible for my current love affair with sequential art. Once before I left China to visit the US, my girlfriend at the time (wife at the present time) had gotten her hands on a copy of Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis and asked me to pick her up some American comics. From that point on, every time I would return to the US, I would stop my Criminal Records and the staff there would let me know what was hip in the world of independent comics. Today the atmosphere was pleasant. There were a handful of cosplayers, including what I think was one of the TV-headed bad guys from Saga. I didn’t get any pictures- sorry. There were several local artists and comic creators. I first spoke with Chris Hammer,a sketchy looking character who was accompanied by a well-mannered illustrative model. Both looked like they could eat nails, but carried on like well-groomed teddy bears. Hammer’s art is mostly too cool for school stuff, evoking graffiti and pop art. I picked up his book Long Way Home, a very fun book.


I also had the pleasure of speaking with Rodney Rodis, Tony Barletta, and George Marston who work together as illustrator, writer, and inker respectively on a little sci-fi book called Cosmic Behemoth. The three of them seem to get along well and embrace their cooperative process. Rodis and Marston both do some great work independently. Marston, in particular, had some very stylistic interpretations of the enemies of Batman and Spiderman. Marston is distantly related to William Moulton Marston, inventor of the lie detector, creator of Wonder Woman, and gender radical in both theory and practice.

Photo of Sue Storm cosplay, obscured by Cosmic Behemoth's creators Rodney Rodis, Tony Barletta, and George Martson

Photo of Sue Storm cosplay, obscured by Cosmic Behemoth’s creators Rodney Rodis, Tony Barletta, and George Martson

Several other creators were on hand at Criminal Records. All of them quite busy, happily entertaining customers and exhibiting their crafts. Customers, staff, and guests all seemed to really be enjoying themselves. Way to go, Criminal Records! A great success!


After Criminal Records, I headed over to Oxford Comics. The festivities at Oxford were more kid-themed than at Criminal, which is kind of funny considering that Oxford offers a lot of hyper-mature products like jaw-dropping Japanese cartoons, adult films, and heartily hardcore homosexual comics. Artists were on hand to do free sketches of kids 6 and under. Two totally rad parents were there with their kids in homemade costumes, a Hulk (pictured below) and a Robin.

Little Hulk With Hulky Dad

There was a woman dressed a Green Lantern. When probed as to which Lantern she represented, she denied ties to any specific member of the Green Lantern Corps. I told her that if she lost the mask and drew some triangles on her face that she could make a good Soranik Natu. She told me that several people had already told her. Maybe she’ll take our advice and my stock in red paint will finally begin to rise! rise! rise!

Green Lantern cosplay

I picked up ten of the free titles:

-Bantam Dell’s previews of Louis L’Amour’s Law of the Desert Born and Jonathan Kellerman’s The Web.

-Local heroes Top Shelf’s Top Shelf Kids Club

-Archaia’s Mouse Guard/Rust

Ugly Doll Comics which features a parody of the cover of Action Comics v.1 #1. I like the Ugly Doll story very much. It’s one of those very cute love stories between creative people from different sides of the Pacifc Ocean. If we’re lucky, those kind of cute love stories are the future of cultural production- cooperation between male and female as well as eastern culture and western culture. Also mixed babies are adorable before they grow up to become very attractive adults.

-IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: New Animated Adventures

-DC Comics’ Superman: Last Son of Krypton Special Edition, which features an interview with Scott Snyder and Jim Lee, the creative team behind Superman: Unchained

-Aracana’s The Steam Engines of Oz

-Marvel’s preview of their upcoming six-issue mini-series Infinity

-Drawn & Quarterly’s preview of Gilbert Hernandez’s Marble Season

-DC Comics’s Capstone Presents Mr. Puzzle