The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Comics Aren't Just For Dweebs--Right?

By Sam Bakken in Arts & Entertainment on May 5, 2005 8:18PM

We admit it—we're trendy bitches. We waited until Father Dave, king of all literati, heralded comics as the new hip literary genre with issue 13 of his "McSweeney's Quarterly Concern" (edited by Chicago's own Chris Ware) before we allowed ourselves to peruse the comics section at our local bookstore. Well, at least peruse without shame. We always thought comics were just exaggerated muscles, fantasy tits and the defeat of evil. Anyway, we was ignant and the issue introduced us to a slew of artists putting out some kick-ass comics that explored (among other things) the quotidian, the historic, the psychological and the political. And even better, these stories were presented beautifully in a form we'd previously dismissed.

Official Free Comic Book Day RobotSo we're pretty excited about the fourth annual Free Comic Book Day this Saturday. Participating retailers will give out special editions of comics from a number of publishers. You can see what comics stores will be giving out here and what stores are participating near you here. Unfortunately our favorite book store that also carries comics, Quimby's, will probably not be participating unless someone donates some comics. The person that answered the store's phone said a more appropriate title for the day would be, "Go Into Debt Giving Away Free Comics Day". She said stores have to buy the comics from the publishers and take the hit themselves.

The Gold selections tend toward the mainstream, but a couple of the Silver selections are worth picking up. The availability of the titles depends on the store. We have a friend that knows quite a bit about the comics scene and, though he was sure to mention that it was a matter of taste, here's what he said about some of the Free Comic Book Day editions you may want to pick up:

--Image Comics "Flight Primer FCBD Edition"--Slick, mainstream stuff

--AdHouse Books "Superior Showcase #0 FCBD Edition"--Alternative stuff; not quite as slick, but lots of enthusiasm

--Alternative Comics "Alternative Comics Presents FCBD ED 2005 Edition"--More fun indie stuff like AdHouse

--Comics Festival (Legion of Evil Press) "Comics Festival! FCBD Edition"--Collection of Canadian artists; Seth and Chester Brown are especially good

--Fantagraphics "Funny Book FCBD Edition"--Probably mostly reprints; Ivan Brunetti and Johnny Ryan are hilarious

--G.T. Labs "Bone Sharps, Cowboys, and Thunder Lizards: A Tale of Edwin Drinker Cope, Othniel Charles Marsh, and the Gilded Age of Paleontology fcbd edition"--All ages stuff; Zander Cannon has put out great stuff in the past

--Publishers Tokyopop and Viz--Really the only International and Manga stuff

Thanks Luke!