Monday, October 31, 2011

Library Book Sale

The Richland County Public Library recently held their annual fall book sale. It couldn't have been a better event. My wife and I got up early, drove to the library where the sale was being held, and arrived the instant the doors opened. We spent a good two hours crammed in with a hundred or so people picking through the books for sale. I, being the dork that I am, instantly sought out any comic books that I could find, followed by fine art, theology, and history non-fiction books.

 I feel that I struck gold in the comic book categories. I had $15 on me and I picked up the following comic books as well as an extensive book on Salvador Dali and a book on fantastic surreal art by Italian Romanticists. My wife stocked up on a box or two of books for her 4th grade classroom. Afterwards, we had exactly two dollars left to our names, so we trotted over to the local comic book shop and purchased several .50 comics that we plan to frame and hang in our hallway among our family pics. All in all, it was a tremendous date. A beautiful October morning, comics, wifey, and thrifty shopping. Pretty much the closest thing to utopia on earth for myself. 

This was the biggest find of the book sale. This is the very first graphic novel featuring the ninja turtles. It also holds the honor of being the very first comic book I ever checked out of the local library. It holds a special place in my heart. It's a object that I associate with the better memories of spending time with my dad and grandparents...and the less savory memories of my sister getting angry at me for not letting her read my comic book. She stole the book from me and found a mild profanity on one of the pages. She showed the page to my parents and promptly got me banned from checking out comic books from the library for the longest good times and bad times. An awesome book. And it only cost me $2.

I'm not a big transformers fan. I liked the toys as a kid, but there's no love lost or nostalgia for them in my heart. I'm probably one of the few people who have more fond memories of the Beast Wars toys and tv show than the G1 toys and cartoons. That said, the artwork of this comic was interesting to me, one of the first transformers comics that ever caught my attention. Also a 2 dollar purchase.

My wife and I are huge Firefly fans, so of course I purchased this. $2 again....and cheapskates the world around let out a muffled "awwwwwww"....

I was introduced to this Batman comic while in undergrad. The entire story is told in watercolor paintings, an amazing feat in itself. What makes this book more important in my eyes is that the story deals with religious themes and the illustrator is a believer in the Bible. $2. 

The Asterix comics are the epitome of perfect sequential artwork, no way I was going to pass up this at a $2 price tag. 

Not a huge fan of the Clone Wars stuff outside of the CN animated miniseries that preceded the release of the final movies in the prequel saga. The artwork in this was just  a step removed from the awesome samurai jack inspired clone wars artwork, so I purchased it for a dollar. 

I'm a huge fan of Frank Millar's Sin City artwork. The crime noir and black and white grotesqueries found in these comics were a major influencer in my undergraduate years. I love the size and feel of these books as well, they simply scream out to you to read and prize the book as a cherished object. At $2, I was ecstatic to find favorite find after the Ninja Turtles book.

Books A Million Sale
It probably seems like I've been purchasing a ton of comic books recently. Well, I have. I've found a number of sales, so when I can purchase comics at an affordable price, I'll stock up on them. I hadn't purchased any comics for about ten years until my last year of graduate school. Graphic novels were just too expensive when one is paying out the wazzoo for undergraduate school, working a job or two, and trying to maintain good enough grades to get into graduate school. When in graduate school, I found myself with a little more disposable income and I stumbled onto book sales. Our local Books A Million has a shelf of clearance comics that I've been visiting when I have a little expendable cash. The books below were purchased for $15 the other week, at 75% off the cover price. 

I love the main story in this book as well as the artwork. The story is perfect comic book material, outlandish and bizarre. It involves aliens, cows, circus freaks, and the Thing. The artwork is wonderful, sort of a Geof Darrow-light with nicer coloring than Hard Boiled. 

I'm not usually a fan or realistic artwork, but this comic's cover really grabbed my attention. The first short story in this book has a cartoon/realism aesthetic that I really enjoy. I wish I could emulate it.

I like the concept of this graphic novel. It tells a fracture narrative that builds up over a period of decades and then intersects with many comic story lines from the 80's that I remember reading as a child. Not a huge fan of the artwork, but the artist makes Mr. Sinister look badass and the story telling from a writing perspective has a great nostalgic hook.