Monday, October 10, 2005

Halloween Treats

With Halloween three weeks away, this past weekend I checked around my house to see if I was ready. No, not decorations or costumes, I needed to see if I had enough comic books.

For the past 7 years (with the exception of 2000 when I was moving that night from Kansas City to Philadelphia) every Halloween I give comic books along with candy to the trick-or-treaters. I think it's important that kids get in the habit of reading and comics are one of the best ways to accomplish that. (and I'd never give comics without giving candy too, you gotta have candy!!)

Now you'd think going about this, having comics on hand to give away would be an easy task, right??


Since the bulk of comic books made are by Marvel and DC I'm sort of at their mercy. Sure, they make enough superhero titles that you can choke a horse, but folks, not everyone wants to read just superhero titles. (and quite frankly, they shouldn't) And have you read many titles from these "big two" companies recently? If an issue isn't part of a long TPB length "six part story" or part of an earth shattering "company-wide crossover who-ha epic" the story and tone are about as dark as a "happy" episode of C.S.I.!

So at my visit to the local comic shop this weekend I checked out to see if they had any kid friendly books. You know, Disney, Cartoon Network titles, something that would bridge the gap between very young and early teen.

The shop had a rack of those, but at full price of course. If I bought, let's say, 30 copies that would cost me nearly $90!!!!! (hey, I feel for the kids and all, but not $90 worth!)

So I sauntered over to the 25¢ bin. Boxes full of books that the shop owner wanted to get rid of- and after looking through them, I can see why. Oh god, were these lousy books. I feel for every tree that died for them.

As I paid for my regular batch of books I brought up my plight to the shop clerk. He understood and said that he had a batch of "comic treats" that he'd sell me, 12 comics for $6! I was intrigued.

They were small ashcan full color titles. A Donald Duck title from Gemstone and a Spider-Man "Halloween Ashcan" from Marvel.

Wow! What a great idea!! I didn't know the comic companies were doing this!! Sure they weren't regular size books but hell they're small enough to fit in a treat sack and might get the kid interested in looking for the regular size books.

The Donald Duck title from Gemstone features "Hobblin Gobblins" a Carl Barks tale. This is exactly what I was looking for. A fun, done-in-one story that any kid would like to read. I mean, you can't go wrong with Carl Barks.

As for the Marvel title..... well.....what can I say. Marvel screws up again!

Yes, "Mighty Marvel" does what they do best these days. Shoot themselves in the foot! Here's a chance to give a nice, exciting story (begining-middle-and-end) that would not only entertain but maybe entice the reader to search out more similar titles, but nope!

The first two "stories" in this ashcan are only two four page "previews" of a Spider-Man and Fantastic Four Marvel Adventures stories.

Yeah Marvel, sure let's tease a possible new reader with two four pagers that don't really say anything but act only like a long ad. I was tempted to eat the $6 I just spent and chuck all 12 copies in the trash until I saw the third story.

It was a full 5 page story starring Franklin Richards. Yes, Marvel has come up with a fun comic version, aimed at kids starring Reed & Sue's first born; Franklin Richards: Son of a Genius.

It's a neat little story that almost makes up for the two four page "ads" that make up the bulk of this book. Is Franklin Richards: Son of a Genius original?? Well, If you don't count Dexters' Lab, Calvin and Hobbes, Jimmy Neutron and even Stewie Griffin from Family Guy
then no, it's not new. But these days I'll take what I can get.

I still have a couple weeks to add to my comic treats, though I'm not sure if I'll find anything better (without going broke).

If you're so inclined to give comics too (and I say too. GIVE CANDY & GUM AS WELL!!! I do work for a Gum and Candy Company you know) see if your local comic shops carry these ashcans as well, if only just for the Donald Duck title.

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