Apologies for the lack of posts lately, things became extremely busy right before I left for Vienna and while I was there, we were quite busy with our sight-seeing.
But! Right before my trip was the Tokyopop garage sale, Free Comic Book Day and the opening of Thor. I managed to hit up all three on Saturday, May 7th, so since it was a manga and comic book-filled day, I thought I’d share it with you.
First, was the Tokyopop garage sale. When I got there, around 9:30 a.m., there were already a significant amount of people in line in the building’s lobby and the line more than doubled before anyone was let in at 10 a.m.
While most got there around 10 a.m., Tokyopop had let in people who showed up around 6:30 or 7 a.m. Inside, half the offices were cordoned off (where there were still desks for the remaining employees) and the other half was filled with books, some DVDs, merchandise and various office supplies for sale.
The collection was impressive, but picked through. Still, I managed to find many large bags full of manga to buy for myself and a few friends who couldn’t make it. I also got a large, framed Kare Kano poster and my boyfriend got an extra monitor. I wound up paying less than $200 for it, not a bad deal at all. The sale was perfect for filling in manga collections you might have been too lazy or financially stressed to keep up with.
Apparently, to my surprise, a college friend came down and bought one of the Japanese-language manga resource libraries for all of $50. I didn’t see the transaction go down, but found out about it later. Her pictures only give you a vague idea of how much manga she bought. (A friend still working there later told me they just wanted to get rid of as much as possible since they won’t have the room to store it any more.) The function of the room was pretty much to provide a library of potential licenses at hand. Anyway, bravo to my friend for getting the best deal of the day.
After lugging all of our purchases to the car and then up to our apartment, my boyfriend and I needed little rest before we headed off to Meltdown Comics for Free Comic Book Day. When we got there, most of the action was taking place behind the store. The line for the Grilled Cheese Truck was longer than the line for free comics! No surprise as food truck culture is so popular in L.A. I wound up getting all the free comics I wanted (Dark Horse’s Avatar the Last Airbender and Yen Press’ Witch and Wizard samplers), plus some extras for a friend who was too ill to make it to a comic book store. Meltdown had a very nice booth set up in the back that looked like an old newsstand. You could take a look at copies of the available comics and then the booth workers would bag your picks.
The event had a variety of things to do. On loan from the Jim Henson company (only a mile or two down the street and around the corner) were two original Skeksis from The Dark Crystal next to a free showing of the movie. On hand to sign comics were Brian Holguin (The Dark Crystal comic), David Petersen (Mouse Guard), Shane and Chris Houghton (Reed Gunther), Jeff Cahn (Red Spike), Owen Wiseman (Samurai’s Blood), and Studio JFish, in addition to Q&A sessions and a few other events. L.A. Weekly has a post up with much nicer photos than mine.
Later that evening, we decided to check out Thor, which had opened the evening before. I don’t know much about Thor the comic (although there are some recent Thor titles I want to read), but I was a bit disappointed by the movie. Everything was fantastic but the story, which just fell flat for me when it came to the titular character. Loki, the movie’s villain, had a wonderfully written story and S.H.I.E.L.D.’s role when it came to everything happening on Earth was perfectly done. But when it came time for Thor himself to shine, all I saw was a guy who had a simple revelation presented in the most boring way possible. It was basically: Thor meets girl, Thor and girl fall in love at first sight, Thor realizes he must fight to protect and not just to fight because he wanted to protect the girl when she was in danger. And then we hit the “happy” open ending! While I realize Thor is traditionally not supposed to be witty or smart, it felt like he was just there for eye candy and fighting, not to be a part of the story. I wasn’t super-excited about seeing the movie in the first place, but I felt pretty let down. These movies are part of a larger franchise that viewers are supposed to buy into for the long run and I think that should mean making each and every one of them extraordinary in every aspect. I can only hope the stories and characterizations won’t continue to be boring.
Finally, during my trip to Vienna, I was determined to find some manga in German as I have a small collection of manga published around the world in different languages. Unfortunately, I missed the European Free Comic Book Day while I was there due to our busy schedule and rain. The next day, I did manage to pop into one small shop in a touristy area to take a quick peek. They had a fairly large selection of manga (for the shop’s size), including titles from Tokyopop Germany. I wound up buying one volume of Fruit’s Basket (not published by Tokyopop Germany) and Happy Marriage?! (Hapi Mari) by Maki Enjoji (a Tokyopop Germany title), which looked hilarious enough to read despite the language barrier.
If any one is wondering, German-language manga costs about the same in euros as it does in dollars.
That’s all for now, as I recover from the jet lag and begin to get ready for Fanime. I bought a few extra volumes of stuff I already had at the Tokyopop sale, so expect a giveaway or contest in the next few days!