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Don't Judge a Book by Its Cover

So, today, for those of you who don't know, is Free Comic Book Day.

It's the one day of the year when you can go to any comic shop and get free comics. The industry produces comics and promotions just for this occasion, and it is designed to get people (ok, kids, in theory) hooked on new books or introduce them to comics. It's also supposed to help save the comic store, that beloved but struggling little piece of paradise that is falling to online retailers.

These are good things, and we comics fans applaud them. But amongst all the kiddie titles and movie tie-ins and promos, there are always a few comics in the free mix that hard core collectors covet.

Enter G.I. Joe #155 1/2. Yes, G.I. Joe one hundred fifty-five and one half.

Now, to any collector of G.I. Joe comics, the number 155 is well-known. That is the sum total number of issues of the Marvel G.I. Joe line. One hundred and fifty-five. No more, no less. The current IDW Joe comics and the plethora of short-lived attempts at Joe comics in between Marvel and IDW have their own numbers, of course. They started over with #1. So, calling an issue 155 1/2 means only one thing.It's a continuation of the Marvel line. The line everyone actually cares about.

And what's this? It's written by Larry Hama? The writer of Marvel fame? The writer who made G.I. Joe a real comic, not some advertisement for a Hasbro toy line? The guy who made Scarlett an amazing character and not just red hair and boobs? Holy shit! I had to have this comic.

But alas, I had to work today, and those free comics go fast! I only found out about this book last night (thank you Twitter!), and while I did try to get a copy reserved (It's unsporting to have one saved, in general, but let's just say I know a guy and I was willing to break my own rules for this book.) via email, but I knew it'd be a long shot.

I live in a little town, though, and my comic shop is not huge, and Joe isn't the most populous fandom, so I took my chances. Immediately after work (I got out on time at noon today by some miracle), I headed to my local comic shop. When my turn at the free box came, I asked for the only book I really wanted.

G.I. Joe #155 1/2.

Dear Melanie looked into her treasure trove, and there, shining like a beacon, was one solitary issue bearing the red, white, and blue.

Oh, yeah. I got the last one.


After I had secured my loot, I started talking to Matt, my comic guy, while Melanie (my comic girl)  continued through the box. Before I knew it, she'd added several titles to my stack, and I left the store with Superman, Iron Man, Shrek, Toy Story, Fractured Fables, and some classic Dick Tracey. I felt a little bad taking so many, and I told Mel to knock it off, but she countered me with a "that's what they're for" and added more to my stack. Bitch. *g* Then again, I did just buy $30 in books on Wednesday, so...okay.

I was so tickled with my luck that I ran home and showed off my treasures to my hubby. Shortly after I finished, he says, "Wait. Is the Green Hornet that was free today the one Kevin Smith wrote?"

Oh, no.

It so was.

And I so saw it in the box, but forgot to ask for it.


Hubby is a huge Kevin Smith fan, so...

But no biggie. They are free books, after all, and meant for sharing. Still, I offered to go back and see if they had another one. Hubby said not to worry about it, because we didn't want to be greedy. Agreed. But I still felt bad. I forgot the one book he wanted. Granted, his want for a comic and mine are, well, not proportional...but still.

Oh, well. Life had to go on. My dogs needed to go to the park, so off I went. But you know what? I know Matt and Melanie well enough to ask a favor. I popped back into the store on my way to see if they had any Green Hornets left.

No such luck, but no worries.

The dog park I usually hike is a good ways away from my house, and I just happen to kind of, sort of pass another comic shop on the way.

I couldn't help it. I had to check.

I popped into Newbury comics just on a whim.

They were out, too. Out of everything. It was three thirty by now - of course they were. Free comics don't last long. But as always happens in comic shops with me, I got into a conversation with the clerk. This was not my home shop, but you're still always among friends in a comic store. And so we talked Joe and my luck and Green Hornet and all sorts of things. Another clerk overheard us and disappeared out back.

In a moment, he came back bearing, you guessed it, 2010's Free Comic Book Day Green Hornet #1.

I flipped out, but I knew the situation without thought, so I asked my only question.

"Do you have another one?"

"No, this one's mine."

"I can't take yours, man."

"No, it's cool, really. I only kept one for grins. I'm not that into Green Hornet, and I can probably pick up another one later."

"Are you sure?"

"Yeah, we're cool."

"You're absolutely sure?"

"Yeah, go ahead."

"Well, okay. Thanks, man!"

And thus I returned home from my dog walk triumphantly bearing hubby's 2010 FCBD Green Hornet #1.


Now, this is a great story, I think, no matter what, but it gets even better. You see, the young man who gave up his copy of Green Hornet on this here Free Comic Book Day was, oh, about twenty-three years old. He had a fair number of piercings and was wearing a very odd hat. He was dressed all in black and though he wore no make up that I remember, he was not, shall we say, the picture of what many would consider an upstanding citizen. You know what I say to those people? Fuck them. In my (comic) book, he's as upstanding as they come.

Kindness, charity, and love are what make for upstanding citizens, and even something as "trivial" as giving someone a free comic book can go a long way toward making this world a better place. Here's to you, super-sweet Goth-ish young man at Newbury Comics. I'll be back to visit you again. Of that you can be sure. After all, you are a bigger store than my local one, and while I am a local girl, I sure did like that skirt you had in the costume section - and the fact that you have a costume section.

See you around, and thanks again. If I may borrow a Marvel phrase: Excelsior!


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 2nd, 2010 12:53 am (UTC)
You can download my Free Comic Book Day comic at http://losttoy.livejournal.com/153509.html
May. 2nd, 2010 04:50 am (UTC)
Cool! I'll check it out later!
May. 2nd, 2010 01:00 am (UTC)
That was a nice thing for him to do.

Edited at 2010-05-02 01:01 am (UTC)
May. 2nd, 2010 04:49 am (UTC)
Yep! Nice young man, that.
May. 2nd, 2010 08:18 am (UTC)
Wabbit, you always have such nice stories to share. They make me smile and help me to believe the world is not such a bad place, after all. Because so often you only get the idea that people are rude and careless, and if we all were a bit nicer to each other it could be so much better.

Thank you for this story!

The first time I ever heard about free comic book day was a few years ago. They just had started with the Stargate action figures and had made a special Jack figure for this day - in black t-shirt instead of green jacket. It was supposed to be given out for free. But I read many complaints of people on Gateworld, that the shop owners said, they only could have one if they bought stuff for at least 50 dollars, or they held a fortune wheel where you needed to try your luck, or...

Of course, many of those ended up on ebay later. That's why I got mine. For a decent price, not more than an ordinary figure would have cost, but still. I think it is not the way this should have gone at all. Probably there are others that actually gave them out for free, but I certainly heard more than one person complain, and they were there first thing in the morning.

So, thank you for giving comic shop guys some honor back!
May. 2nd, 2010 05:41 pm (UTC)
I try, and you're welcome.

Seriously, I rarely post bad shit. Does it happen to me? Yes. But why dwell on it? Why perpetuate it? Why let the bad guys win by giving them one more second of my time? That's how I try to live, so...yeah.

I think selling or asking for a store purchase for anything related to FCBD is low. I think a raffle or a prize wheel is relatively fair for some high-value things, like the action figure you're describing. I mean, you're still giving it away, so I can see that. It does level the playing field a bit so everyone has a chance at it. However, it really should be first come, first served. If you camp out overnight, you deserve to be rewarded for your time and effort, so that is the most fair thing, really. Those of us who have to work or whatever, well, them's the breaks.

And the ebay thing pisses me off. When I snagged that last G.I. Joe, I made a comment to Matt that I was glad I got one before some asshole put it on ebay. He agreed that would happen, and that just irritates me. But anyway...

Oh, look! Found one! Reasonable price, but still...dude, come on.

Oh, well, have to jet.

And yes, comic book guys can rock!
May. 9th, 2010 08:47 pm (UTC)
Seriously, I rarely post bad shit. Does it happen to me? Yes. But why dwell on it? Why perpetuate it? Why let the bad guys win by giving them one more second of my time? That's how I try to live, so...yeah.

I absolutely agree! That is how I also live my life. Concentrating about the good things and shrugging off the bad things. Especially if loud and repeated complaining doesn't change a thing.

But you also seem to have an eye for the interesting story, and on top of that a way to write it really nicely down. I still have to think about that one with the old lady in the fitness center, watching SG-1.

Long before I owned an LJ I also had one nice encounter. It was in the bank office, and to explain why I did not have much money to put into an account, I started to talk about travelling and conventions and meeting stars and stuff. And the nice woman said, yeah, she also thinks that RDA is a sweetie. So we had a really nice talk, but I also was a bit nervous about the co-workers sitting nearby and what they would think about us, as they could hear every word ;)

But it was a nice thing and certainly made me smile for the rest of the evening.
May. 9th, 2010 09:39 pm (UTC)
Aw, thanks, and that's awesome about the lady in the back. Very cool! You know, perhaps I should post that gym story here. Hm...we'll see.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )


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