Free Comic Book Day & Avengers

This marks the first time I’ve brought both my sons with me on Free Comic Book Day (last year I took just my oldest one along). They were fairly good about the concept of “free”, and only took the few freebies that were of interest to them. At one point, I even reminded my youngest that they were free and he could take one of each if he wanted, and he said, “But what if someone else wants some and they run out?” Heart of gold that kid, sometimes. It brought to mind this recent issue of The Gutters, and it’s nice to see the right attitude in my little ones.

For the comics themselves, I haven’t read any of them yet. My wife is out of town and we had to get up early to drive her downtown, so I had little sleep after the late show of The Avengers last night, plus I had to do all the single-dad-for-a-day stuff. Lack of time + tiredness = no time for reading yet. I will say this, however, I have been to my share of Free Comic Book Days and I have never seen anyone go crazy with the production value the way Archaia did with Mouse Guard And Other Stories this year. It’s an honest-to-goodness hardcover book, and given that going into today all  could think of was “Man, I hope there’s a Mouse Guard freebie”, you’ll understand that it was all I could do to hold back the squee. This one is going to get read, with the kids propped by my sides most likely, and I can already tell that it will be read again and again. There were quite a few other titles I was unfamiliar with, so it’ll be nice to broaden my horizons again, once I dive into the pile of freebies. I also picked up a few collected editions while I was there – namely the collected Fell, and the next two volumes of The Unwritten I was missing.

On The Avengers movie. Wow. Leading up to it, I went on an internal back and forth for several months. It went a little something like this.

“Oh dear, they’re making another movie with a pile of super-heroes in it.”
“But they’ve got the stars from the individual movies signed on!”
“Which means a lot of egos to deal with.”
“But it also means they’ve got the best actors for each job on the set.”
“It’s Joss Whedon.”
“Ha! Got nothing to say to that, eh?”
“I’ll think of something. Grumblegrumble. Haters gotta hate…”

I was worried that, despite the guiding hand of someone who usually cares a lot about story, that this film would try to cram too much into a two-hour feature and end up being an action-fest where you wouldn’t know anyone’s names coming out of it if you didn’t know them in advance. I eventually put aside a lot of my doubts, though I wondered, with such a collection of names, how they were going to make a movie that spotlighted them all individually. How, when you have a cast of seven heroes, do you give each of them enough screen time to develop a story arc worth watching?

The answer? I have no idea, but they did it. Part of it was the characters doing the things that make them unique, and part of it was the characters interacting with each other to create both camaraderie and conflict. The Hulk came closest to stealing the show, though I think, given the circumstances and the limitations of movie length, they did a bang up job of giving each character a chance to shine, even the ones without super powers. They could definitely have done more to develop the characters and their individual issues, but for a movie like this, I found it enough that the issues were there, if not thoroughly explored, and that no character felt like a complete throw-in. No small feat with seven main characters, not including the villain. Eight if you count Bruce Banner and The Hulk as two characters…

Very recommended, and stay through the credits until the very end. It’s been a while since I’ve itched to go see a movie a second time in theater, and I would definitely pay to go see this movie again.


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