Soooo, yesterday was Free Comic Book Day. Sincere apologies to all my rock-dwelling readers who would have liked this information YESTERDAY. I was going to post about it earlier this week, but then I had to keep the kids alive and forgot. Whoops. Also, you know, comic books are not video games, and this is a video game blog. But fear not! There were video game comic books given out for free, so we can talk about that!
Charmander has had prior experience with video game comics, so I thought this would be a good event to further his interest. He’s actually played Mega Man BECAUSE he likes the manga. Yes, comics are inspiring! About a year back, a friend gave me his collection of the Mega Man Megamix and Gigamix graphic novels, intending for me to read them, but my oldest son grabbed onto them, and I’ve never really had time to look over them myself. Every time I would try sit down with them, he would make me read over the Robot Master’s bio pages again.
I have read some of that first issue to him, but the actual action gets a little too intense for him, I think? He just likes looking at the pictures, and hearing about the characters, as opposed to hearing all the word bubbles. The old NES games, though, are honestly a better pace for a preschooler, and he was very happy to “play” them. It was also an interesting study in how much patience he had acquired at that point in time. First, we had him try it out on the Mega Man collection for the PS2. We had to drag out the PS2 itself from storage for this, as we are not blessed with a first gen PS3:
This seems idyllic, but we actually didn’t put up with this for very long. There are too many buttons on that controller for that game, so we actually ended up doing some more digging around, and pulling up the NES from storage and having him play on that. He worked very hard for a fair amount of time, learning how to navigate each screen without taking deathly damage. And then, you know, Husbachu ended up playing most of the game for him. He’d go through the stages, and let Charmander tackle the Robot Masters. That is something that is very different from our own childhoods in gaming: parents that can help you play the game. I certainly didn’t have that; I had parents that would help me turn the game off, and that’s it. Also, here is my childhood NES now collecting dust on a dresser, because we’re too lazy to put anything away in this household:
But anyways, Charmander loves Mega Man, and he loves the video game because he loves the comics. And luckily, one of the comics being given out was a “Mega Man and Sonic the Hedgehog Flip Book”. Yeah, in the video game world itself, Sonic is besties with Mario now-a-days, but in the comic book world, the Blue Blur and the Blue Bomber hang out for afternoon tea and robot busting and stuff, which makes more sense to me than the former relationship, but I digress. The book itself is actually Mega Man X based, and after waiting half an hour in the hot sun to get into the comic book shop, Charmander was actually against picking up this book, which was kind of exasperating to me. I guess he was content with the actual Sonic/Mega Man crossover comic that we paid for outside, and felt full up on the franchises? Or maybe the X franchise seems too intense for him. The original Mega Man looks so simple and approachable even while angry, while X looks more intimidating overall. That’s supposed to be cooler, right? I picked it up on his behalf, anyway, and he did enjoy it when he was back home, and re-hydrated and full of grilled cheese sandwich:
The comic itself is just X’s backstory, somehow told with only one panel featuring Zero, and it isn’t even a very dramatic rendering of said Maverick Hunter’s hair. Ah, well. The flip side of the comic is Sonic, and I don’t actually remember seeing Charmander look at it, which is surprising, because he actually likes Sonic a lot. He has multiple Sonic shirts, and has been asking for Sonic underwear and possibly a Shadow the Hedgehog shirt. Most of his knowledge of the games, however, comes from watching YouTube videos, which I will get into in a separate post some… time… but yeah, I was kind of disappointed he didn’t show more interest in it. The Sonic comic itself presents the mighty claim of “ALL IS REVEALED”. I looked it over and had more questions afterwards. Like, when the heck did Nicole, Sally’s personal computer, get some kind of real world avatar? I’m sure that’s left a lot of you with even more questions, but I will just let you look that stuff up for yourselves. At any rate, I was hoping he’d be more into that flip side because Sonic comics were a big part of my own youth. I collected/poured over them for many years. I had been telling people I stopped at issue 50, but looking over my pile just a few minutes ago, I see that I actually made it to issue 61.
The collection of these fine pieces of literary art came at great risk to my own personal well-being. You see, my mom didn’t like me reading them, didn’t like to take me places to buy them, and overall didn’t like me buying them period. Also, I was only allowed to ride my bike around the block until like, high school or some nonsense, but I had to break the rules over this cause. In unprecedented rebellion, I would ride my bike out multiple blocks away, purchase these books with the random change I had hoarded, and then sneak them back into my house inside my shirt. So stealthy. I also had to eventually carry the whole collection around with me as I’d go out places, as there was a very real fear of my stuff being trashed by my mom while I was gone. It wasn’t that the collection was getting too heavy to carry around that I stopped buying them, though: it was a conscious choice that I made, because I thought it was getting childish to read them or something. Or maybe I just needed to save all those extra coins to buy actual video games or anime or something. It’s getting a little blurry. I guess the point is, I don’t follow it anymore, and my son isn’t interested in starting to follow it. Ah, well.
Back to the actual event for a moment, though: the surprise hit of Free Comic Book Day for my kids was the Hello Kitty comic they were giving out. I would highly recommend checking this one for your preschool age kids, regardless of gender. It’s very cute, without actually being stereotypically girly, and there’s no dialogue, so they can pick up the story by just following along the boxes. Squirtle decided that he wanted multiple copies of this book, and nothing else. And on the actual video game related comic end for adults, there was an issue of Street Fighter, which feature Chun Li fighting street while juggling groceries. That’s a pretty typical day for me, too.
Next year, I’ll probably be taking the kids out again for free stuff. It’s possible that my oldest will be able to read by then, so it’ll be interesting to see if his tastes in comics will have evolved. In the meantime, we’ll share what we’ve already got together.