The Dawn of an All-New New Comic Book Day

New Comic Day 05-20-2020

This week’s fix.

In a week that’s been marred by weird illness symptoms (no, not THAT one), severe illness elsewhere in our family (no, thankfully still not that one), news of one distant relative’s recent death (it, um…it was that one), complicated cases at work, the monotony of internet outrage, and daily-routine malaise…it’s heartening whenever I spot signs of the Old Normal popping up, like a stray flower sprouting in a scorched field.

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Comics in My Future, Ever So Slightly

Hawkeye Freefall set!

Those of us who’ve been patiently waiting to complete our sets of Matthew Rosenberg and Otto Schmidt’s five-issue miniseries Hawkeye: Freefall now have a conundrum on our hands. (All cover art by Kim Jacinto and Tamra Bonvillain, presumably including the itty-bitty one for #5.)

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: as a direct result of the ongoing and measurably non-resolved Coronavirus epidemic, Diamond Comics Distributors effectively shut down the comic book industry at the tail end of March, a temporary but unprecedented cessation that has vexed comic book shops worldwide and deprived habitual comics collectors such as myself of their weekly fixes of printed, single-issue graphic storytelling. We understood the decrees and the crisis at hand, but we lamented seeing a large portion of the medium paused in unison.

America’s 2200 remaining retailers, many of whom were already surviving on razor-thin profit margins, were justifiably nervous about their long-term financial stability through this era, whenever they weren’t too busy grappling with pervasive COVID-19 anxiety. Or with literal COVID-19, for all we know. Those shop owners thinking ahead wondered aloud: what happens if our customers’ habits are suspended for too long? What if deprivation begins to feel to them more like liberation? What do we do if the audience that had already been shrinking for years gets even tinier? Especially if too many of them are unemployed and can’t afford comics anymore?

Fantastic questions, those. I’m still mulling over my parts in some of those equations.

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My Entry in the Internet Peanut-Gallery Database

Charles Linn page!

It’s cool to see your name in print even when you don’t understand all the words around it.

When you make a longtime hobby out of turning words and pictures into hopefully entertaining compositions, more for the sake of self-satisfaction and human interaction than for lofty aspirations to widespread fame and/or corruptive fortune, it’s always a pleasant surprise when something you did — no matter how tiny or inconsequential it seemed at the time — somehow catches the eye of just the right person and creates an unusual opportunity you’ve never had before, never saw coming, have trouble explaining to others, but draw a bit of pride from anyway.

I’ve had a few such occasions pop up in my life. Another one of those odd little things recently happened for me. I think I now have enough to assemble my own checklist. It’s not long or dignified enough to call a bibliography, but if there were an Internet Peanut Gallery Database — like IMDb, but for nobodies like me — then my IPGDb page would presently look something like this:

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A Crisis of Purpose Down at the Dollar Store

Michael Penn, Mr. Hollywood Jr. 1947

Acquired today for $1.00 from a Super Dollar Tree in Indianapolis. Sigh.

When I was younger and closer to starving, dollar stores were a good place to pick up certain items such as cleaning supplies and Christmas stocking stuffers. I was quite enamored of the concept of a variety store in which every single piece of merchandise is priced at exactly $1.00. Granted, the undiscerning shopper might err and purchase items that are actually less than a dollar at other stores. Some discretion is advised on that front. Otherwise, as long as quality control isn’t an issue, they’re a convenient option for cutting costs when you’re on a meager budget.

I visited such a store today with my wife when we took her grandmother errand-running. The Super Dollar Tree down the street from her house is where she stocks up on her birthday and holiday cards a few times per year, plus whatever other impulse items she can hoard on her way to the register. As she did her thing, I wandered off to check out their selection of books, to see what works had been downgraded from original retail price to rock bottom. I’m in no danger of running low on reading matter anytime soon, but the thrill of the scavenger hunt is tough to resist. One never knows when a diamond in the rough might turn up/ My last such acquisition was a dirt-cheap copy of Stephen Colbert’s I Am America (And So Can You!).

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