FCBD is Tomorrow!

Tomorrow is Free Comic Book Day!  In case you’re unfamiliar with the concept, on the first Saturday of May, participating comic shops give away free pre-selected comics to any and all visitors!  You can find your local participating comic shop using FCBD’s store locator.

Free Comic Book Day 2013

To prepare, here is a list of the free comics that’ll be available, ranging from DC to D&Q, brand new to classic reprints, mainstream to independent, all-ages to mature, not to mention lots of TV, cartoon, and video game tie-ins.

I’m personally intrigued by Drawn & Quarterly‘s offering, an excerpt from their forthcoming Gilbert Hernandez semi-autobiographical comic, Marble Season (planning ahead, Gilbert will be at Housing Works in NYC on April 16th to promote its release!).  Also, FCBD is probably as good a time as any to try out Hindu comics, even if Liquid ComicsRamayan Reloaded is written by American Ron Marz

Plenty of good stuff to get (for free), so check out their offerings and find your favorites…

PS: This is my 200th post.  Go me!

Terror Bunny

Can’t believe I haven’t featured John Allison here before!  I’m a big fan, and Scary Go Round was how I was first introduced to his work.

Originally the story of some wackily irresponsible overgrown children dealing with all manner of mystical mayhem in a mid-sized English town, Allison has since shifted focus to the next generation in Bad Machinery, with reasonably responsible schoolyard sleuths investigating mysteries in that same town.  In between chapters of Bad Machinery he posts short stories in the same shared universe, and right now he’s following SGR breakout star Esther DeGroot in Uni.

Lots of options on where to start!  If you want a taste of classic Allison, may I recommend the French Easter mystery from 2008 sampled above…  Appropriate for the season!

Easter(n) Cantata

Lou Harrison portrait

Lou Harrison, photo by Oscar White, 1973

Mixing things up for Easter with a 20th century composition for the occasion.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OVpLQ_LnF4&w=350&h=300]

Lou Harrison‘s Easter Cantata opens with the Gamelan style chords he is most known for.  He certainly seems like an eccentric character (I mean, just look at that portrait!), and he has an interesting biography, with impressive connections to Schoenberg and Ives.  If you want to hear more, his one-act opera Rapunzel is up on Spotify:

Happy Birthday Will Eisner!

The creator of The Spirit and a pivotal figure in the development of the American graphic novel, Will Eisner would’ve been 96 today.  (Centennial only four years away!  I have centennial mania this year…)  As the namesake of the most prestigious awards in the comics industry, the Eisners, you get a good feel for his stature in the field.

Will Eisner Week is an annual celebration of his legacy as well as a time to promote comics, literacy, and free speech, and as such is held in association with the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.  This year’s theme is “read a graphic novel”, which shouldn’t be too hard for most of us, right?

New York, being Eisner’s hometown, is naturally an epicenter for celebrations, with three events, including…

And of course, there are events elsewhere (tellingly, Portland comes in second place, with two events).  And wherever you are, you can at least do your part by reading a graphic novel!

“You Is My Woman Now”? Uh, Proprietary Much?

Here’s an operatic companion Valentine’s Day post: the love duet from George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, seen in a 1993 televised production directed by Trevor Nunn, with Cynthia Haymon as Bess and Willard White as Porgy.

This TV production was actually based on Nunn‘s 1986 stage production for the Glyndebourne Festival.  Not sure how romantic it is necessarily, but I guess I’m a cynic.  Give me 1950’s romance comics any day.

This is also my belated and paltry first post for Black History Month, which I have been totally slacking on!  I’ll step my game back up folks, sorry about that.

All Romances, All the Time

It’s Valentine’s Day, and to celebrate here is just one of the many terribly wonderful public domain romance comics available for free reading and downloading over at the indispensable Digital Comic Museum.

Ace Comics All Romances #1

The DCM knows what’s up, they even have a romance comic filled banner for the occasion.  This particular example of the genre, featuring such stories as “Tarnished Engagement”, “My Soul Wasn’t My Own”, and “Sister without Scruples” is from the short-lived Ace Comics.  Of course, DCM has tons more where that came from…

I just wish mainstream comics publishers nowadays would put out more of these done-in-one romance stories.  Is there really not a market for this?  I mean, half of these stories are cautionary tales about impressionable young schoolgirls falling in with creepily aggressive older men, so should be an easy sell to the 50 Shades people.  C’mon people, untapped market right here.

HCD 2013 Has Come and Gone

So yesterday was indeed Hourly Comic Day and I actually had a pretty busy day, much more so than previous years, so that was more of a challenge.  But it’s done, and up for viewing on the HCD 2013 Forums, next to many more talented folks’ (I posted 2 minutes before Raina Telgemeier!  And she said she enjoyed mine!!! : D

Hourly Comics Day 2013

Some other notable HCDs:  Colleen MacIsaac from Halifax (site), Boum from Montréal (site), Carey Pietsch from Philadelphia (site), and lots more of course!  Go check ’em out, and be prepared to do nothing productive today…

EDIT: ComicsBeat has a list of HCD 2013 recommendations, many of which are not on the forums, so also worth checking out!

Hourly Comic Day Tomorrow!

February 1st is International / Intergalactic / Universal  Hourly Comic Day, as decreed by John Campbell, who’s a pretty weird guy nowadays, but anyways.  I’ve participated in 2010, 2011, and 2012, and you can see lots more entries from  HCDs past on this forum.  Here are the guidelines if you’re interested in joining in (do it!).  Anyway, I thought this snippet of this unrelated Kate Leth comic was appropriate:

Kate Leth ALongStory 8-9-2012

(Kate Leth has lots of great, unflinching comics about sexuality, mental health, depression, etc., so definitely check her out beyond just that snippet!)

I apologize in advance for my own uneventful autobio comics…  But part of the fun of HCD is seeing so many people’s days, even if they’re not super exciting on their own…  A fun annual comics event for sure!

Belated Inauguration with Marian Anderson

Inauguration Day 2013 sorta snuck up on me, so I didn’t get to come up with a topical post…  But in honor of the Martin Luther King Day / Black president double whammy, here’s Marian Anderson singing the anthem at Eisenhower‘s 1957 inauguration.

That same year she began a tour of India as a goodwill ambassador for the US government, which is just totes adorbs.  Don’t get that nowadays, huh.

Happy Epiphany

January 6th marks Epiphany, which as I understood it was the day the Three Wise Men made it to Bethlehem…  and of course a second opportunity for presents…  To mark the occasion, here is part 6 from Johann Sebastian Bach‘s Christmas Oratorio, “for the feasts of Epiphany”:

This oratorio was actually made up of earlier music by Bach, drawn from 4 previous cantatas, one of which is otherwise lost, but this pastiche was written for the 1734 Christmas season.