Unless you were in an isolation tank this weekend, you were bound to hear something about the premiere of Iron Man. And I’m sure some of you had a distant relative politely inform you they heard on the news that some store was giving away free comics and asking you if you knew anything about that. Given the understandable popularity of both topics, I decided to pull multiple related quotes on both Iron Man and Free Comic Book Day (FCBD). First up, some reactions to the Iron Man movie. Please be advised, if you follow the links some of these reviews have major spoilers in them. Major. You are warned. And if you’re a fan of Flickr, this search for the term “Free Comic Book Day” turns up some fun photos.
“The movie is great. They did a terrific job of translating the screenplay to the screen (not always a guaranteed endeavor, I can assure you) and Robert Downey, Jr., the first thinking man’s superhero, took Tony Stark to a whole ‘nother level with his deftly brilliant performance. The rest of the cast brings their ‘A’ game, but it’s Downey’s heroic journey that both anchors and elevates the movie. An absolute must-see.”
- Peter David, a writer of great depth and versatility, dipping from the “must-see” well of phrases. I tease. But be sure to read the entire post as the best part is the play-by-play of his red carpet stroll at the premiere.
“There’s a slightly depressed, going-through-the-motions feel to the entire show. When Stark escapes and comes home, now and then doing battle secretly as Iron Man, almost every scene is played as a joke, but, apart from Downey’s private sense of amusement, the kidding lacks conviction.”
- David Denby, dismissing the film with a spoiler-filled review. Do not read this review if you want to be surprised at all.
“The film benefits from a script (credited to Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, Art Marcum and Matt Holloway) that generally chooses clever dialogue over manufactured catchphrases and lumbering exposition, and also from a crackerjack cast that accepts the filmmakers’ invitation to do some real acting rather than just flex and glower and shriek for a paycheck.”
- A.O. Scott, raving about the film in a review that features an inept lede proposing some reader might confuse Iron Man with Superman because of the latter’s “Man of Steel” nickname.
“Director Jon Favreau doesn’t go for an obvious comic-book look, but he also doesn’t go in for much of anything else. When Iron Man is zooming above bejewelled southern California, I expected a thundering lyricism but instead settled for some routine CGI stunts. I suppose it’s asking too much for a great actor to be matched up with a great director on a project like this. On the other hand, there’s always the sequel.”
- Peter Rainer, using his praise of Downey to set up a zing of Favreau.
“The special effects are astounding, and this is the first film (yes, even counting Superman) to perfectly capture what must be the sheer exhilaration of self-powered flight.”
- Johanna Draper Carlson, surprising the hell out of me by loving the film so much she announced her intention to see the film a second time the next day. I’m not surprised Draper Carlson could like a superhero film, but it surprised me she loved it that much.
“A comic shop is on the cutting edge of popular culture. Everything you currently see in the mass media has appeared in a comic shop one to three years earlier. If you go to the movies, you’re 1-3 years behind. That can be art house movies like Persepolis or big-budget movies like Iron Man or 300. What’s going on culturally is found in comic shops before it’s in mass culture. If you go to the movies, you’re 1-3 years behind. I always say that if you want to know what’s really going on in the Middle East, you need to watch Al-Jazeera and read Haaretz, and if you want to know what’s going on in American pop culture, you need to go to a comic shop once a week.”
- Mike Van Houten, owner of Atlanta-based Oxford Comics, defining comic book stores as the barometer for future cultural trends.
“…we had a large number of film-fueled requests for Iron Man comics, new and old. The FCBD Iron Man/Hulk/Spider-Man book was a popular item, and we even sold out of our copies of Marvel Adventures: Iron Man comics. We never sell out of Marvel Adventures: Iron Man.”
- Mike Sterling, appreciating the increased sales (at the store he works at [we give him a free link in a later quote...don't worry that I don't mention it here]) of Marvel Adventures: Iron Man. Be sure to follow this link to get his take on a Bongo Comics’ “lost opportunity for free advertising”.
“We got some comics autographed by Jeff Parker, one of our favorite comic writers and I got my hardback of Agents of Atlas signed and a nice sketch put in it as well. Jeff Parker was great with kids and got my son talking, normally he tries to hide when meeting comics pros as his shy side comes out.”
- Brett Abbott, sharing a pleased fan’s and parent’s perspective on his FCBD experience at Super Villains Inc. Comic Shop in Nottingham, Maryland. Abbott also uploaded photos at Flickr.
“I am pushing water for Image Comics, so I don’t want to hear any complaints about late books!”
- Jim Lee, tongue placed firmly in cheek, as he pushed a shopping cart full of bottled water that he and the other Image founders distributed to fans during a break at their Atomic Comics FCBD signing in Phoenix.
“Clearly, I’ve been spoiled by so many years of having the awesome Ralph’s Comic Corner as my local comics shop. Here’s how Free Comic Book Day works at Ralph’s: you walk in and Mike gives you three big bags full of every single free comic available. No muss, no fuss.
Here’s how it works at Austin Books, which has a reputation as one of the best comics shops in the country, let alone just Austin: you walk in and see piles of comics spread out all over the front desk. So you have to pick them out yourself. And when you do, an employee snottily informs you that you can only take ten. And when you leave, you get stopped by a couple of other employees stationed by the door who fastidiously count the books you’ve chosen, to make sure you weren’t planning on stealing an 11th ‘free’ comic!”
- Tom Collins, venting about his FCBD experience this year (and realizing his former store had really been spoiling him)
“Kids need an injection of fun; they need their minds off of what they’re dealing with.”
- Ashley Bacot, a parent emphasizing the impact of Heroes Alliance (a group who dress as comic-book characters) who visited Florida Hospital to see sick children and give them free comics (in conjunction with a local comics retail chain, Coliseum of Comics)
“Comic books are kind of a dying art form. People don’t want to buy comic books anymore, but if they’re giving them away for free, then they’re interested.”
- Brooke Woolfson, an Emerald City Comics employee, quoted in a manner she had probably not intended/expected. This article suffers from the all-too-frequent “Holy ____________ (insert hackneyed choice of words here), Batman!” lede as often happens in FCBD mainstream coverage.