Saturday, May 07, 2005

Guess what today's theme is?

Due to a last-minute cancellation (because of foreboding weather forecasts) of a highly-anticipated camping trip, I was in a temporary funk this morning trying to come up with an unusual consolation activity for the first part of the day. And then, somehow, some way (can't remember now), I found out that today was being celebrated as FREE COMIC BOOK DAY--not only in Fort Worth, but everywhere!

Of course, I ended up leaving this for the last minute, as I went off to see an afternoon matinee screening of "CRASH" (thumbs up, more on this later, maybe); did some Mother's Day gift-shopping; and hung out with my brother for a while. Thanks to the hardcore of the comic bookstores, Y2Komics, which stayed open beyond the posted "Closes at 8pm", I was able to waltz in and partake of the free comic bookness. You couldn't just grab anything from the shelves as your freebie; no, there was a designated table strewn with an assortment of styles and sub-genres to choose from. Extending the range of the stretch that my being in a comic book shop already presented, I opted for a copy of a BETTY AND VERONICA (Archie comics, remember them?) and an issue of SHOJO BEAT, a manga magazine.

Speaking of comics, I am the unlikely fan of FANBOY RADIO, a locally-produced (TCU's KTCU-FM) program which is so infectiously fun and informative. Even the FORT WORTH WEEKLY appreciates the show, which maintains a website with program information as well as downloadable audio files of archived shows.

Earlier this week, new New Yorker Randy Gentile was interviewed on FANBOY RADIO, talking about his new project NYComics, a series of black-and-white comics which detail very simple but striking characteristics and situations which Gentile is experiencing as a newbie in the Big Apple. It's pretty obvious that he is greatly influenced by comic book writer Harvey Pekar, and Gentile admitted this during the radio interview. I'm always excited when somebody in comics cares about the writing (the story, the poetry of a moment) as much as the drawing.

Lastly, to close this very-extended treatise on a theme: I recently heard a great episode of FRESH AIR, wherein Terry Gross interviewed the 2005 Pulitzer Prize winner for political cartooning, Nick Anderson, whose prize-winning portfolio is very amusing and smartly-rendered. My favorite quote from the radio interview: “..there’s nothing more American than dissent, in my opinion.” Anderson has been drawing political cartoons for the Louisville Courier-Journal in Kentucky since 1991.

Okay, I've more than exhausted this theme.

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