The library: where every day is free comic book day

Comic book people love to write about how they dropped comic books. Again.

A year ago, I began the “weekly habit” once more at my local comics shop (LCS). This month, or so, it finally ground to a halt. Again.

Have you heard of Free Comic Book Day? Well, I got some props from Kurt Busiek on Twitter for inadvertent guerilla promotion of said day, because I was reading Astro City: The Dark Age Book Two: Brothers in Arms
a collection of a comic series he’d written, in a local cafe. The waitress asked about FCBD, and I gave her the closest location so that she could get her son a free comic.

The funny thing is, for me every day is Free Comic Book Day. I keep track of the trade paperbacks (“graphic novels”) I’ve read courtesy of the many public libraries I’ve lived near, and I’m currently at an alarming 1,118. It’s really the only conceivable legal way for a less-than-wealthy person to keep up with as much of the important work as possible… and by important I mean both sincerely important and “continuity porn” important.

That trade that got the waitress’ attention? Library, of course. In the Bay Area in particular, many or most of the various public libraries participate in a special network called Link+, making it easy to request items from 50 miles away.

So where most comics fans end up with some kind of backlog ( trades and quarter bin singles are also good friends of mine), it’s more difficult for me than it is for most to make it through that backlog of items I actually paid for because I need to return the items I didn’t pay for before the due-date hits. The main advantage of buying comics at all is keeping more current with what’s being discussed on blogs, but it is a painful experience, every time, to see something I’ve bought from Amazon on a library shelf and think “damn, if I hadn’t paid for it I would have already read it by now!” I have at least done fairly well at reading the singles within a week of purchase, as you pay a premium for purchasing them in that way!

I have of course told myself, previously, that I would stop buying comics until I elminated my backlog, but my local comics shop (LCS) owner finally did me a solid with his little burst of antisocial behavior recently. I actually have a shop much closer to me than him, but they seem much more interested in gaming (which of course gets my nerdrage going) and not all that friendly either. I found out about this other shop from a Groupon and I found the dude to be much more personable.

Well, apparently that was just because I am white (this is of course not fair, he is perfectly amiable to people of color who buy from him). But, recently he was singled out on Twitter for some screed (in the form of a comment on a major comics blog post) about how white men are the realy opressed ones. This was in response to a sincere, reasonable plea for diversity from a reader of non-white origin.

I’m being vague here because I don’t really want to start a war with this guy, but look… I am a white guy and I am very whiney, and I also like to make jokes about how much it sucks to get burned by the California sun (see, I wasn’t meant to be here! but I don’t want to be anywhere else! :choke:) but that said, my pet peeve is people like me who genuinely believe (or profess to beleive) that white men are oppressed. They’re not. End of story.

And yeah, I guess if he was just sticking his finger up his ass and rambling about that, it would be one thing, but this never happens. Instead, it is always deployed as a tool to hush up anyone who is not white, not straight, not female, or so on. “You guys aren’t oppressed, I am,” he cried, as he… oppressed them.” Yes, I am a flaming liberal, no doubt about that.

So yeah, I dropped all my subscriptions with him (I had already cut them in half… DC: The New 52 was decent, well the part of it I bought was mostly, but not worth me buying twice as many comics as ever before). And I thought about starting up a shorter sub-list with the closer store. Yeah I think the lady is kinda unfriendly, but they have a “safe space” sign on their window, for fuck’s sake!

But no. I am going to get through that backlog and then go back to buying stuff. By the time I do that, like, a year from now, I will have saved tons of money from all the stuff that I was able to check out by then anyway!