While I was away in the States I got back into comic books.
Every so often I go through a phase of being really into certain mangas or comic books or graphic novels. This used to happen with much more frequency and I blame my comic decline on New Zealand. The closest comic shop is about 4 hours away and usually doesn’t have the comics I am interested in getting into. The alternative is, of course, Comixology, however I really enjoy having physical comics. There’s something that just feels nice about watching your small stack of thin little comics grow.
While I was in the States I took advantage of the abundance of comic shops. In our two and a half week trip we stopped at three different shops. The first place we stopped was Defiant Comics in Forest Park, IL, just outside Chicago. It’s a little shop but packed with stuff. Nav had been looking for the Walking Dead compendiums and I was in search of Lumberjanes. Nav had no luck, but fortunately for me they had issues 2, 4 and 5 of Lumberjanes. Too bad they were missing 1 and 3, but that’s not too bad.
I also picked up the first 4 issue volume of The Woods. I hadn’t heard of it before but it looked pretty intriguing – a Wisconsin high school is teleported to a mysterious planet and the teenagers and staff must figure out how to survive. I read it on the plane home and I am definitely hooked. I’ll probably wait until the next volume comes out rather than buy each individual issue. Shipping prices into New Zealand are so high that buying a small comic every month is just not economical, unfortunately. But I look forward to seeing how the kids deal with the alien woods they have found themselves in. The comic has some aspects that remind me of The Mist: should we stay in the school and hide out til this thing blows over? Or will monsters outside come and attack us anyway? The characters are believable teenagers, but not annoying (very important!).
Our second comic stop was at the Graham Crackers Comic location in the Loop. We were downtown to attend BitBash and when we left we mentioned to the friend we were with that we were comic-seeking. He brought us to GCC since one of his friends worked there. This was definitely the biggest comic shop we went to on the trip. Nav was still left searching for his compendiums but I wound up getting issue 1 of Bee and Puppycat and a SDCC exclusive cover version of Lumberjanes #04.
I had seen a few frames of this comic before and… I really like cats. And I call my cat Puppycat sometimes because he acts a bit like a puppy. So the purchase made sense. I read this one on the plane too and loved it. It’s a little hard telling if you’ll like a comic based on just one issue, but it definitely seems good so far. Bee is a girl who is a magical temp worker. The art style is cutesy but there’s quite a bit of humor, too. Like with The Woods, I’ll probably try and get the first volume when it comes out rather than buy each comic.
Our final comic stop was another GCC, this time in St. Charles. Much smaller store and more scarcely stocked. The redeeming feature of this shop was the healthy amount and variety of graphic novels. I almost bought This One Summer, however because of its size and weight I decided not to. Big bulky books like that aren’t too good for plane travel. They did have the compendiums Nav was looking for, but by the time we stopped at this shop he had already given up and ordered them on Amazon. They did have the first 4 volumes of The Strain though and he decided to get those.
Nav is a big fan of the TV show version of the story but I wasn’t so moved by it. After running out of reading material on the 12 hour flight to Auckland though I decided to give the comic a shot out of boredom. To my surprise I really enjoyed them. I read through all 4 volumes in short succession. I’m a fan of the sci-fi takes on typical fantasy tropes like zombies and werewolves. It’s an interesting mesh of the two genres and The Strain does it well. I wasn’t too impressed with the art style of the comic but it wasn’t necessarily bad.
Never did manage to find issues 1 and 3 of Lumberjanes. I wound up ordering them from BOOM studios directly but unfortunately they got to my parents’ house the day after we left.
If I get desperate for my comics fix in the future, I may settle for using Comixology on my tablet, but until then I will try my darnedest to get physical copies of comics!