Last year was the first year we celebrated Free Comic Book Day. It was just me and Kavya. Neither of us dressed up, but man did we stock up on free comics and a ton of ones we paid cash money for. It was her first introduction to Kamala Khan a.k.a. Ms. Marvel from Jersey City, a brown girl with hair all over the place just like her, as well as stacks of special issues. On our way home, our local joint, FJB Comics, had the real Batman hanging out, who drew a little sketch for Kavya, and Sona and Shaiyar came out to meet us there. Kavya was really into Batman for a while, then Wolverine, and Lady Deathstrike because that was his arch nemesis. Until last night, she wasn’t really into X-Men (she didn’t understand the concept of a team and kept wanting to know when the X-Man was going to show up), but she had her favourites, very few of them from the All-Ages comic book set no matter how much the comic book people tried to push their sample packs, she was 4 and had words. The very first place we went, she said, “No, I don’t want these ones. Do you have Lady Deathstrike?”
This year, we’re going as a family. We started preparing last night: chocolate chip scones for energy, check. Netflix jackpot with a ton of animated Avengers and X-Men episodes. She isn’t budging from being Wonder Woman today though. She wants me to be Thor though because people often confuse me for a Nordic hammer wielding God.
Morning. That Shaiyar Singh wakes up at 5am, climbs on top of me, kicks me in the face, then says Hi seventeen times until I respond. Kavya is sprawled out in the bed after a late night of watching the Avengers and X-Men cartoons. Me, Sona, and Shaiyar go downstairs. I excitedly tell him it’s FREE COMIC BOOK DAY TODAY. He is holding part of the vacuum, loses balance, falls on the floor, ignores my awesome news. I tell Sona, who is in the kitchen making tea, about today and entice her with ISSUE NUMBER ONE of the All New, All Different Avengers that features Kamala Khan aka Ms. Marvel from Jersey City (woo hoo!) along with 49 other awesome comics available for free, and some awesome ones we’ll spend cash money on. Sona’s response, “oh. that’s cool.” The lack of exclamation points or punctuation other than the full stop/period is intentional. Sona and Shaiyar go upstairs to go back to sleep.
9:19 am. Kavya comes stomping down the stairs. “Happy Free Comic Book Day, Papa!” she says. We talk about the X-men and she asks which boy I’m going to dress up as. “You can be Thor or Wolverine or whoever you want. Just don’t take your beard off.” She sprawls on the sofa. I tell her about the special comic book issue with Ms. Marvel as one of the Avengers, and she leaps up and says, “Let’s GO!” That’s how you respond to news of this magnitude.
We’re under a blanket on the sofa.
“Papa, is Mystique good or evil?” she asks referencing an episode from last night.
“It’s complicated. Dr. Xavier and Magneto have different philosophies on interacting with the humans.”
“What does that mean?”
“One of them wants to work within the oppressive system that privileges the humans, while the other is intent on creating a new system that privileges the mutants.”
“Oh,” she says. “So, Papa, since it’s a special day, can I watch X-Men in the morning?” She pauses. “Without brushing my teeth?”
It is Free Comic Book Day, after all.
This year, we’re going in armed with a battle plan. The plan, aside from GET ALL THE COMIC BOOKS, is to find that needle in the haystack: Wonder Woman WITH PANTS.
Here are two free comics I can’t wait to elbow little kids to get my hands on. I mean, calmly see if they’re still on the tables:
All-New, All-Different Avengers (Marvel Entertainment)
After the Secret Wa, a new generation of Avengers includes Ms. Marvel, who easily overshadows Thor, Irone Man, and yes, even Captain America. That’s right, I said it.
Avatar: The Last Airbender (Dark Horse)
Kavya loved the comic book, which prompted her to watch the entire series. I didn’t have the heart to tell her they made a movie that sucked the life out of it.
Other General Non-Free Highly Recommended Ones:
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl.
I’ll write an update on how we fared.