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Free Comic Book Day this Saturday!

Photo courtesy of lorigoldberg
Comic Book Guys
courtesy of lorigoldberg

This is a guest column on comics by Ian Cyr of Arlington, VA.

Are you going to go see The Avengers this weekend? Did you enjoy The Dark Knight, and are looking forward to seeing what the next Batman movie brings? Are you looking forward to the Spider-Man reboot this year, or did you prefer the earlier movies by Sam Raimi? If you even know what I’m talking about, then you might be interested in another event going on this weekend. Plus, you could get free stuff–and who doesn’t like free stuff?

This Saturday, May 5th, is Free Comic Book day. This is a yearly event put on by comic book shops all over the United States in an effort to show people what awesome stuff is happening in the realm of comics at this point in time. It’s held on the first Saturday of May, and while it obviously includes free comic books, it also often is accompanied by other events at the comic books shops, ranging from guest appearances to trivia contests to drawing lessons. Obviously, not all of these happen at every shop, but they could be happening at the comic book shop near you!

This year will see 48 different comics available for free at your local comic book shop. Now, these aren’t just free issues of comics that you’d normally need to pay for, but instead issues specifically produced for this event. This doesn’t, however, diminish the quality of these books – it just means they’re written to help those that don’t usually read comics get involved with the story, instead of dropping them into some long-running arc that they may not completely understand. In fact, one of my favorite comic book stories in the past several years was released as part of free comic book day.

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Special Events, We Love Arts

We Love Arts: Comic Art Indigene


Jolene Nenibah Yazzie (Navajo), "Beautiful Shield" 2006. Digital print. Courtesy of the artist.

Upstairs in the intimate Sealaska Gallery at the National Museum of the American Indian is a fascinating exhibition on the intersection between Native culture and a uniquely modern art form. “Comic Art Indigene,” now through May 31st, highlights over 35 artworks of various mediums from the earliest rock art and clay figurines through to classic comic strip panels. Containing images both humorous and provocative, it’s well worth a visit.

If you’re interested in the history of how traditional methods of storytelling evolved into using comic art as a means of Native expression, the beginning of the exhibit clearly outlines this process. I just urge you to make sure you move beyond that initial area to the back walls and pay careful attention to the incredible pieces by Diego Romero, Mateo Romero, Jolene Nenibah Yazzie, and Rose Bean Simpson. These artists collectively pack a powerful graphic suckerpunch.

Jolene Nenibah Yazzie (Navajo) was a skater girl in high school, and her childhood inspiration was Wonder Woman. Both facets are evident in her supersaturated color contrast and strong female images. I loved “Beautiful Shield” – reminding me of a bit of Patrick Nagel (though these women could kick Nagel’s to the curb!). If I could own one piece of artwork from the show, this would be it. Continue reading