So there's this really big movie opening this weekend. Really big. Several superheroes from recent movies rolled up into one giant juggernaut of a movie big. So big that the Associated Press began its weekly box office earnings story earlier this week by talking about how many hundreds of millions of dollars it made ... and it hadn't even opened yet in the United States.
Indeed, if you haven't seen any of the other movies that have been out for a while, this weekend might be the best time to catch some of 'em, because it's a given that all the theaters screening The Avengers will be the ones crammed full of people. The fact that it's a big weekend featuring a blockbuster movie based on a popular comic book series also can mean only one thing: It's time for the return of Free Comic Book Day, that one day out of the year when most comic book stores -- one three-store chain in Virginia excepted -- promote sequential art by giving away books by the boxful.
Four comic book stores are participating on Saturday:
- Collector Maniacs, 3571 Waialae Ave., ste. 102A (Kaimuki)
- Gecko Books, 1151 12th Ave. (Kaimuki)
- Other Realms, Ward Warehouse, 1050 Ala Moana Blvd.
- Jelly's, 98-023 Hekaha St. (Aiea)
If you visit any of these stores, don't forget to throw some money at them and buy something in appreciation, too -- supporting local small businesses is always a good thing.
Thirteen libraries across the state are participating as well -- 10 on Oahu, two on Maui, one on Hawaii island. (Sorry, Kauai -- just as with The Secret World of Arrietty screenings, looks like you've been shut out again.) Some will also be hosting special events. The sites:
- Aiea (99-143 Moanalua Road) -- 501st Imperial Legion visits from 10 a.m. to noon; from 3 to 5 p.m., the gang from Comic Jam Hawaii, a group of local cartoonists that meets regularly for fellowship, drawing and creative brainstorming, will be at the library for a Free Comic Day Jam. The public can join in, too.
- Aina Haina (5246 Kalanianaole Highway) -- Oahu FanForce, a group with members cosplaying as various Star Wars characters, visits from 10 a.m. to noon.
- Hawaii Kai (249 Lunalilo Home Road)
- Hilo (300 Waianuenue Ave)
- Kailua (239 Kuulei Road) -- 501st Imperial Legion visits from 2 to 4 p.m.
- Kapolei (1020 Manawai St.) -- Rebel Legion Hawaii visits from 10 a.m. to noon.
- Kihei (35 Waimahaihai St.)
- Lahaina (680 Wharf St.)
- Liliha (1515 Liliha St.) -- Rebel Legion Hawaii visits from 2 to 4 p.m.
- McCully-Moiliili (2211 S. King St.) -- Rebel Legion Hawaii visits from 2 to 4 p.m.
- Mililani (95-450 Makaimoimo St.) -- 501st Imperial Legion visits from 2 to 4 p.m.
- Waianae (85-625 Farrington Highway)
- Waimanalo (41-1320 Kalanianaole Highway) -- 501st Imperial Legion visits from 10 a.m. to noon.
While there aren't any giveaways of Japanese manga -- you'll just have to resort to the increasing number of chapter samples available year-round on legal manga sites like jmanga.com, vizmanga.com and pretty much any manga publisher website you can think of for that -- there are a few properties that manga fans may be interested in, including Archie Comics' Mega Man and Sonic the Hedgehog books and OEL (original English language) manga Voltron Force: Shelter From the Storm from Viz and The Infernal Devices: Clockwork Angel from Yen Press. As for properties without manga ties, I'll certainly be keeping an eye out for ... well ... a bunch of other titles that I don't have the time and energy to hyperlink at the moment, but you can pretty much guarantee that if it's tied in to some cartoon, Mouse Guard or Moomins, I'm interested. A complete list is available at http://www.freecomicbookday.com/Home/1/1/27/981; note that the locations listed below won't necessarily be carrying all these titles.
UPDATE, 5/5: I've gotten word of several neat online-exclusive freebies that will be available during Free Comic Book Day as well. For one day only, Audra Furuichi and Scott Yoshinaga are offering digital copies of nemu*nemu volume 1; not only do you get the first year of strips as they were printed online, you'll also get commentary from Audra and Scott, character profiles and bonus sketches. (And trust me, Anpan and Nemu looked very different from how they look now.) Visit hensh.in/c0 and click on the banner at the top of the page.
Meanwhile, the gang over at Lime Media Hawaii is offering digital copies of Hawaii Star Manga Project issue no. 5. This giveaway's not limited to just today; it'll be available until the long-in-gestation sixth issue is released. Included are installments of the comics "The Hylanthean," "The Tobias Wah Chronicles" and "Children of Aumakua," as well as the continuing prose saga "River of Stars [:another realm]." Visit www.limemediahawaii.com and follow the links.
Anime around town
MangaBento: This group of anime- and manga-inspired artists is hosting the "Coloring With Copics + Manga Mania" workshop from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Honolulu Museum of Art School, 1111 Victoria St., room 201. There will be demonstrations of Copic and other popular Japanese markers, as well as an art jam session in advance of the group's ""Nakamaboko: Working Together" exhibit opening next month. (This is also a great time to remind you that you have until May 23 to submit work for that exhibit. More details in this post.) Cost is $10; bring your own drawing materials. Visit www.manga-bento.com.