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Road Tripping for National Comic Book Day 2013 and Meeting Green Lantern’s Former Artist!

Another annual National Comic Book Day today (May 4, 2013) descended upon us with a glorious cloak of comic titles that most comic book stores around the country passed out, first-come first-served, to comic book fans and patrons of all ages!

Almost everyone in our house is some sort of comic or graphic novel fan. Tim was previously a huge collector, and now he’s still an avid reader (and is a wealth of factual comic trivia) and me…well, I’ve always loved how a comic in print captured my visual senses with the vibrant and beautiful art and action-packed emotional stories.

With all the superhero and comic-based movies coming out over the last few years, most people at least are enjoying superheroes…but there are so many other great comics to enjoy out there now, no matter what age you are. My son mostly enjoys the movies, but my daughters (age 9 and 5) love our almost annual treks to a random comic store (where we generally pull out the google search in lieu of map, point, and search….then embark on a laughable twist and turn, stop and back up,  scenario down side streets until we find the store, which generally is tucked back away in the not so common areas of town, decide if it’s safe for kids, and then scout it out).

This year we found a rather nice store in Canton called Bill’s Books and More. He had lots of comics, great sales, and even had a comic book illustrator on-hand signing autographs (more on that below!).

Family

Tim and the kids at Bill’s Books and More

Once there the girls love getting to pick out their free comics.  Our middle daughter likes a wide variety, as she picked out Hulk today, Smurfs (did you know it started out as a comic in Belgium before coming to the US through Hanna Barbara?), and Superman! Our five-year-old also chose Smurfs, Disney’s Tinkerbell, and Batman (her fave guy). She enjoyed reading Tinkerbell all the way home at which point she declared “Whew! Can you believe I read that whole comic already? It was awesome.” This is the first year she has been able to read them to herself!. I’m a proud mom that she’s reading and enjoying comics.

Addie reading comic

Seriously worn out, but intent on her comic.

I have to admit that Tim and I enjoy choosing some titles too. We might not be looking as die-hard collectors, but just enjoy the experience. Tim got a Walking Dead title they distributed for the day and Marvel’s Infinity, and I got Dynamite’s Damsels Mermaids ( a new original story) because simply…I like Mermaid stories. Mermaid #1 will be in stores next week.

Also, I had read for review the comic for children called Mouse Guard with Addie last week. They had a Free Comic Book Day title of Mouse Guard, a Flip Book that also featured Rust, Jim’s Henson’s Labryrinth story, and another short. The art and type in this comic is just right for little people and extremely well-done. I love the bigger font with fewer words so they can read on their own. Mouse Guard reads like a picture book. The art is adorable in them all. This compilation is from Archaia Entertainment.

SAMSUNG

Our stash of free comics from the day…

Then, there was the excitement of getting to meet longtime comic book artist of the Green Lantern series, Darryl Banks, and having him sign a comic for us! He lives in Columbus and works as a freelance illustrator and commercial artist now, but I’ve read he still loves comics the best. He is best known for working on the Green Lantern Vol. 3 for a seven-year stint, but he also created costumes, characters, and conceptualized. If you want to see more of his amazing art you can go here: http://www.comicartfans.com/gallerydetail.asp?gcat=11377.

Darryl was so very nice to the kids. Soft-spoken and kind, when Emma asked him, “How did you start to become an artist?” he smiled and told her he’d been drawing ever since he was even smaller than she. He told her to keep at it and not to stop pursuing her dreams. My daughter was beaming after this meeting. Thank you very much, Darryl for encouraging her!

Darryl Banks

Darryl Banks, with my kids, at Bill’s Books and More

For me, nothing has even beaten the feel of a glossy comic with all this splendid art igniting my senses and now nothing beats watching my girls sitting back, comic in both hands up to face, legs crossed, and deep intent on reading.

Thank you to Bill’s Books and More, Darryl Banks, and everyone nationwide who is responsible for bringing us National Comic Book Day!! It’s a great way to promote literacy and art!

Addie with bag

National Comic Book Day Link for 2013: http://www.freecomicbookday.com/Home/1/1/27/981
Bill’s Books and More, Canton, OH:  http://billsbooksandmore.com/blog/

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See last year’s National Comic Book Day 2012 Guest Post by author Hunter Shea by clicking HERE!

See my post on how graphic novels help kids read by clicking HERE!

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Celebrate National Comic Book Day with a Guest Post by Author Hunter Shea!

We’ve got a SPECIAL GUEST POST just in time for NATIONAL COMIC BOOK DAY!!  For comic lovers around the Globe, what better weekend than the premiere of The Avengers AND National Comic Book Day (Cmon, FREE comic books)!!!!

What will you pick up? Have you seen Avengers?

In the meantime, check out our guest post from Author Hunter Shea in honor of National Comic Book Day and share your comments below.

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All Hail Comic Book Day! 

By Hunter Shea, Author of Forest of Shadows and Evil Eternal, Samhain Publishing

It’s safe to say that my love of reading grew from my love of comic books, and both have greatly shaped my life as a writer.

As a very young kid just learning to read, I was thrilled whenever I got new issues of Casper, Sad Sack, and yes, Archie. By the time I was about six, I had moved up to Plop!, Mad, and the gamut of superheroes from Spider Man to The Hulk. I was hooked, big time. When I had a free moment between games of wiffle ball or freeze tag, my head was in a comic book.

My favorite day of the week growing up was Wednesday. I called it Comic Book Day. As a Catholic school student, we got a half day every Wednesday so the public school kids could come to our classes for religious education. I went to my grandparents’ house every week, and every week my grandfather would walk me around the block to the stationery store to buy a few comics, and if it was warm out, an ice cream cone. Decades later, nothing still compares to Comic Book Day.

I was around ten when I drew a line in the sand and pledged my allegiance to Marvel, though I did secretly buy Green Lantern & Green Arrow  and the occasional Flash issue from time to time. My parents encouraged my comic obsession because it got me to read…a lot! I always had subscriptions to 4 comics at a time. The two mainstays were Captain America (still my fave, and I have the shield tattoo to prove it) and Fantastic Four. I’d alternate between X-Men, Marvel Two-In-One, Iron Man and the ill-advised Shogun Warriors and Rom Space Knight. Getting those issues in the mail each month wrapped in brown paper was like winning Wonka’s golden ticket.

By the time college came around, my comic book obsession was replaced by novels and movies, but I’ve never stopped completely. I eventually moved more into graphic novels and have marveled at the superior craftsmanship that goes into them. And now as a horror writer, I reflect back on the stories and characters that thrilled me as a kid and have channeled that emotion into my own work.

As an example, without even knowing it, I had crafted a particular story of mine into, basically, the script for a graphic comic. When that didn’t pan out (because creating a comic book is NOT easy), I expanded on it and made it a full length novel called Evil Eternal (see info at bottom of post). It has all the pomp and circumstance of ultimate bad versus ultimate evil, and as I wrote, I pictured illustrated panels in my brain from start to finish.  It’s a little trick that I’ve used again and again to drive my stories.

In fact, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have this horror writing career if it wasn’t for comic books. They are a part of my DNA, and I’m not alone. Almost every writer I know cut their teeth on comics. It’s an interesting correlation that’s worthy of study by a gaggle of university eggheads, on the condition they report to Stan Lee.

So thank you Steve Rogers, Tony Stark, Ghost Rider, Green Lantern, Dead Pool, Wolverine, Swamp Thing, Man Thing, The Thing, Batman, Daredevil, Peter Parker, Kazar, Conan, Vampirella, and yes, even the Shogun Warriors.

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About Hunter Shea, Author

Hunter Shea is the product of a childhood weened on The Night Stalker, The Twilight Zone and In Search Of. Luckily, I’ve managed to make a love of all things ghostly and beastly into a career. It’s nice not to have to write for free anymore.

I’ve published several books and a slew of horror short stories over the years in magazines like Dark Moon Digest, Morpheus Tales, The Harrow, Tabard Inn, Deadline & Ethereal Tales, just to name a few. My latest novel, Forest of Shadows, is available through Samhain Publishing and their new horror line. Evil Eternal, what’s been desribed as Gran Guignol at its best and bloodiest, will be available in May 2012.

I’m also proud to be be one half of the Monster Men podcast, where my partner in crime Jack Campisi and I talk about all things horror with our own, sarcastic twist. All horror and no humor makes Hunter and Jack dull boys.

Feel free to contact me any time at huntershea1@gmail.com. Writing is lonely work.

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About Evil Eternal, Just Out May 1!!

Hunter Shea had a visual in his mind while writing Evil Eternal of it being a graphic novel. It’s in regular book form now and published by Samhain Publishing’s Horror line, but imagine how action packed and full of visual details this book is! I haven’t read it yet, but sounds like a great novel!  And…..if anyone out there in comic book land who wants to still turn it into a graphic novel, you should drop him a line! 

What’s the book about?

Only one priest can battle the ultimate evil!

An evil as ancient as time itself has arisen and taken root in New York City. Father Michael, the mysterious undead defender of the Church, answers the call to action from the Vatican, while Cain, a malevolent wraith that feeds on fear and blood, has taken the life and form of the city’s mayor and readies a demonic army to ignite the apocalypse.

With an unlikely ally, Father Michael will prepare for the grim confrontation as he grapples with his sworn duty to God and the shreds of humanity left beating in his immortal heart. The time is ripe for Cain and the fulfillment of dark prophecies. Father Michael must battle Cain and his horde of demons in a final showdown that could very well herald the end of mankind.

E-book available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Samhain Publishing and wherever e-books are sold. Check it out today! One sale for limited time from Samhain Publishing link!

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