Free Comic Book Day

Every year in May my family has a tradition that has nothing to do with me or mother's day. On May 2nd, DH and the boys braved the rain to travel to our local comic book store. This is the first year that all 3 boys got to go. Free Comic Book Day is a single day - usually the first Saturday in May - when participating comic book shops across North America and around the world give away comic books absolutely FREE* to anyone who comes into their stores. *Check with your local shop for their participation and rules.

Here you see my boys at our local comic book shop, Comic Relief.
Comic Relief has been in operation since 1985.

Comic Relief
158 Mercer Mall
Lawrenceville, NJ 08648
(609) 457-7548

Free Comic Book Day started back in 2002 as in industry-wide community outreach to show the non-comic-book-reading public what they may be missing. Our youngest son, Everett, being only 2 years old and riding on his daddy's shoulders attended. It didn't mean much to him then. but as he grew older and could read it became a treasured yearly activity. Over the years as our family has grown, mom has ducked out of the activity and now it is just a father and son day. The day trip has now expanded to sharing an ice cream at the next shop over and talking and reading together. I know that this will be one of those traditions that the boys will be talking about when they get older!

My husband brought his great love of comics into our lives and our family. I believe they strongly influenced who he came to be as an adult. He has a great sense of right and wrong and is a very loyal and devoted man to everything he is involved in. I want you to get a sense of who he is and why comics were such an impact on his life by hearing it straight from him.

What did comics books mean to you when you were growing up?
It’s funny, but I think at first comics were just a way for me to make a connection with my cousin Todd. He and I seemed to always like the same things but he was much closer in age to my older brother, so when he started to get into them (and my brother didn’t), it seemed like a good thing to pursue.

As I got into them though, they really became a place for me to learn from. I have always been a person who was able to get a lot of value from reading. Even at a young age, I seemed to get the moral teachings implicit in books like The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, the Narnia books, etc. And comics just seemed like a super-concentrated form of that. You had action, highly-developed characters, good versus evil and more all in a brief 22 pages.

Do you remember your first comic book?
I think the first comics I ever read were at my Grandma’s house. And to be honest, I am not sure how they got there. I think some may have been left overs from when my dad was a kid, while others were too new. So I guess my Grandma must have stuck some in her grocery bag every once in a while. There were a few Spiderman books, a few Tales from the Crypt type books, and some Radio Shack comics that were really just thinly-veiled advertisements for their computers – the Tandy 1000’s. But I devoured them all.
The first comic I ever bought though was from a convenience store about a block from my house and it was an Uncanny X-men book. Number 257 I think. It introduced to me this colorful cast of characters that was just so enticing. I had to learn more.

What did you learn from comic books and super heroes?
Oh, wow. I learned a lot. Or I guess maybe I should say it reinforced a lot that I had already learned. Christian values were taught to me all through my life by parents, grandparents, teachers, church leaders, etc., but to see such graphic representations of these same lessons, really drove the point home for me in a way that stuck with me.

There are the obvious lessons, of course, like Truth, Justice, and the American Way from Superman, and patriotism and defending the weak from Captain America. But I think the three big ones for me are:

Spider-man’s “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility.” To those who have been given much, much is required. I think this has a lot of meanings, not least of which is the idea of charity. But also that you have to be a person of action to make a difference in people’s lives. Don’t just take your personal gifts and horde them, you have a responsibility to use your talents and abilities to help others.

The X-men – these heroes don’t have a pithy one liner to demonstrate their main moral, but basically, these characters exist as “freaks” in a world that fears and hates them, and yet they continue to fight the good fight to protect all people everywhere regardless of whether they like the X-men or not. There is so much good to be learned in this. Don’t judge others by their labels. Don’t give in to peer pressure, especially when it comes to the treatment of others. Don’t give up when it comes to doing what’s right, no matter how bad the odds are, no matter whether you will get gratitude or glory in the end, no matter what it may cost, do the right thing, every time.
Green Lantern – Green Lanterns have a special ring that allows them to temporarily create energy “constructs” of anything they can imagine. There only limitations are their imaginations and their willpower to make things happen. I think it says an awful lot that this “greatest tool in the universe” only works if you can perfectly imagine and totally believe in the outcome you want. What a perfect metaphor for living up to one’s own potential.
Who is yout favorite Super Hero and why?
I guess my favorite superhero to read would be Wolverine, because I envy his ability to live the way he does. He is a man of honor with a deep heart who is willing to do what needs to be done. He’s able to drill down to the black and white of a world that is very much grey to most of the rest of us. But my favorite hero to imagine is Green Lantern; I just am in love with idea that you could have a superpower that would basically allow you to do anything, only limited by your own imagination and willpower to make it happen.

Why was it important to you to share this with your sons?
I want my sons and my daughter to know that they can do anything they put their hearts, minds, imagination and willpower to. And that if they do that in service of a cause that is greater than themselves that they can experience the true happiness that we are intended to have in this life. My religion teaches that our Heavenly Father has sent us here so that we may have joy both here and in the life everlasting, and this joy, I believe, comes from doing what is right, and doing it in the service of others. I think the more examples of this our children can be exposed to, whether they be biblical, fictional, or from current events, the better, stronger people they will grow to be in their lives.

No comments:

Post a Comment