Super-Fly Comics & Games opened its doors in August 2007 after buying the new comics & graphic novels business of Dark Star Books. Since then we have expanded further into video, card, board and role-playing games; movies; manga; toys; t-shirts; statues and other cool things. Be sure to ask about our subscription pull file service to get 15% off almost everything in the store and our 10% discount for college students and military personnel.

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READ MY LIBRARY ENTRY 61: Free Comic Book Day at Super-Fly and Stray Bullets!

Stray_Bullets_Uber_Alles_Edition-cover

Max visits Super-Fly Comics & Games on Free Comic Book Day a couple times throughout the day and finds it well manned and full of customers!  Get a cursory report on how FCBD went at the Fly and join Max as he takes a good look at some of his purchases at the store that day, namely David Lapham’s Stray Bullets in both the Über Alles Edition collecting the entire 41 issue run of the first series and the first two issues of the new series/arc Stray Bullets Killers!  Only here at superflycomics.com!

Super-Fly Comics & Games’ plucky sidekick Max Lake has embarked on a journey to read his collection of comics! Join Max every Thursday as he takes on his Library! Titles reviewed by this blog do not necessarily reflect what the store has in stock, but you can always email the store to special order something that you’ve seen here at superflycomics@gmail.com. You can also call Super-Fly at (937) 767-1445 or just ask someone at the store next time you’re there for special orders. You can read past entries of the blog here. Any questions or comments for Max should be sent to maxdlake@gmail.com. Comments are currently closed, though we’re looking into a new way to do comments so stay tuned. Check out @maxdlake to follow Max on Twitter. Most entries deal with Max re-capping what he’s read in detail, so be aware that there is a SPOILER WARNING for this and all entries, though Max usually leaves out the big spoilers/shockers/moments and leaves those for the reader to discover. The things Max writes do not necessarily reflect the views of Super-Fly Comics & Games, and Super-Fly Comics & Games is not responsible for what Max says—especially anything that bugs you.

Well dear Super-Flyers and Fly-Hards, last weekend was Free Comic Book Day not just here at Super-Fly, but at comic shops across the country.  Hopefully if you didn’t or couldn’t make it to the ‘Fly, you were able to make it to whatever comic shop is closest to you to check ‘em out and get some free comics!  FCBD is always a big deal at Super-Fly, but this year it seemed like there was a bigger line than ever waiting for the store to open at its special FCBD opening time of 10 am!  Before getting there, the line was so big that I almost couldn’t park in the back parking lot behind the store, and had to put on my car’s turn signal to get people to split up the line to allow me to maneuver back there to park!  Wow!  After parking, I was there about 15 minutes before the store opened and I found myself in the back of the line, ready in full force to take advantage of the free comics to be had and the 25% off sale that Super-Fly was having for the occasion!  There were several parents with kids, and many people in super hero attire.  I took a few pictures of the line to show how massive it was!

This was the line at Super-Fly on FCBD!

This was the line at Super-Fly on FCBD!

Boy what a long line!

Boy what a long line!

Waiting to get into the 'Fly!

Waiting to get into the ‘Fly!

C'mon and open already!

C’mon and open already!

Side view of line across the street!

Side view of line across the street!

I had to get out of line to take this picture! (It was worth it!)

I had to get out of line to take this picture! (It was worth it!)

Finally the doors popped open and store manager Jared Whittaker welcomed everyone inside, reminding them of the 25% off sale that awaited them indoors.  The line moved quite slowly as people filtered into the store and made their way around the massive table where the free comics were.  The store was well manned, as Bryan Hawke’s pal Jack, “Real King” Travis Ray and of course Jared and store owner Tony Barry were manning the battle stations ready to serve everyone.  Artists Rusty Shackles and Adam Hicks (who we all just saw and shared a room with at C2E2!) were there providing prints and other great artwork, while convention staple Pat Baumgartner and comics scribe Chad Lambert were also in attendance making appearances at the ‘Fly that day!

Travis, being the “Real King” he was, had pulled a copy of every free comic for me, and fished me outta line and took me to the back office to give them to me (an advantage of being a Super-Fly sidekick!).  This gave me the opportunity to pick up a couple things, then dig through my (now massive) file and pluck out some things I had been planning on getting for just the occasion.  Namely Stray Bullets Über Alles Edition Collection by David Lapham and Maria Lapham and Judge Dredd Complete Case Files 06!  Having avoided the massive line almost altogether, I think I was the first customer Tony actually rang up that day!  He tallied my purchases, and then after mistakenly thinking I short changed him, he placed all my books in a bag and gave me a free Rusty Shackles FCBD poster done up just for Super-Fly for the big day, since my purchases had totaled over $50!  Nice!

FCBD14RUSTY

Apparently, the manpower kept coming to assist the heroes of Super-Fly, and so did the customers!  I ran into Bryan Hawke in the line on my way out, and he apparently stuck around and helped.  Then Andrew came in later.  Travis later came over to our place to hang out as Super-Fly was so well staffed and he didn’t want a case of “too many chefs in the kitchen!”  After Travis left, I went back to the store and ended up buying a couple more things, issues #1 and #2 of Stray Bullets Killers which I planned to read just as soon as I could finish Stray Bullets Über Alles (what an undertaking that would be!!!).  When I returned to the store, Andrew and Jack were holding court at the register and while the crowd had died down, it was still pretty busy!

“This is slow!” Andrew joked to me after ringing me up.

Apparently Super-Fly ran out of free comics in the first hour or two and at that point were giving out last year’s FCBD books.  Holy moley!

I came in again towards the end of the day, deciding to spend just a little bit more and take advantage of the sale.  It had died down a lot, but there was still a lot of activity.  While the store had been overflowing with help before, it was now just down to Tony and Jared keeping things straight and entertaining the handful or more of customers coming in.  I noticed a couple who were obviously new to the store and who were enjoying their experience quite a bit.  Jared did his best to make them feel welcome, as that’s the Super-Fly way!  Apparently, it had been a great day for the ‘Fly, but Tony and Jared were both past the point of exhaustion!

But this being the “Read My Library” Blog, maybe we should talk about something I’ve read, no?  Well, the day after FCBD, I sat down and made an attempt to read the Stray Bullets Über Alles Edition Collection.  Some of you may remember me talking about David Lapham’s Stray Bullets favorably and with excitement about its return back in my January return to the RMLB.  Well, although it’s just come back in March 2014, Stray Bullets and I go back to 1995.

I don’t remember the circumstances surrounding me picking up the first issue.  But I know I did when it came out.  And I remember reading it and being simply blown away.  It was so shocking, so crazy, so fricking violent and adult of a crime comic!!!  I had never read anything like it before or since.  Except maybe issues of Stray Bullets that followed (though #1 of Stray Bullets is still pretty hard to top, even by subsequent issues—it’s just that crazy!).  It definitely made an impression on me.  The thing was, it wasn’t done by Marvel or DC, or anyone I had ever heard of.  It was a self-published book by a guy named David Lapham who wrote and drew it, edited by his wife Maria Lapham, and published by their own imprint, El Capitan.  I didn’t care who did it though; I was hooked like some junkie.

Over the years, I would try to hunt down every issue, every TPB I could find, eventually I even found oversized hardcovers of the second and third story arcs, and a softcover TPB of the first.  But as the years went by, the issues started and stopped.  The TPBs became harder, and harder and impossible to find, becoming super de duper out of print before long.  Then apparently David Lapham stopped Stray Bullets all together, and like some ill-conceived cinematic Batman, he took eight years off though not because his girlfriend died or his leg was hurt, but simply to work on other stuff and regain his footing with his first series.  The fans were pissed—I know I was—but baby, it’s been worth the wait.

Just two months ago, in March, Lapham released the last issue of the main Stray Bullets series, issue #41, finally ending the current story arc; released Stray Bullets Über Alles Edition Collection collecting every issue of the series (sadly, save for the Amy Racecar Color Special #1, though it’s understandable why: to keep the uniform black & white look of the book and series—besides that’s a special and not truly an issue of Stray Bullets); and releasing the first issue of a new story arc and series, Stray Bullets Killers.  It’s quite a return and the fans are being quite forgiving.  Thanks to Image Comics and the Laphams coming to an agreement, Stray Bullets is back in our lives, and if you missed it the first time, now’s the perfect time to see what the fuss is about!

Stray Bullets is an ever rotating cast of characters, places and times where every issue is a “done in one” story that can be read out of order, yet is part of a bigger whole story that you can really appreciate when read together.  It’s a really impressive feat.  It’s mostly crime fiction, with the characters often engaging in (or witnessing or being the victims of) crimes.  Sadly, things don’t always end well for the characters, but though there aren’t always happy endings, the stories almost always have substantial impact, a real “oomph” to them that will stay with you for an afternoon, a day, a week or even a lifetime.  One constant seems to be the unseen crime boss Harry, and his minions’ effects on other characters throughout the story.

I took it upon myself to read all of Stray Bullets Über Alles on the next day after FCBD, Sunday May 4th, and I attempted to read it all in one sitting.  I was successful in this endeavor, reading all 41 issues of the series in graphic novel form and then going on to issues #1 and #2 of Killers.  What can I say but it was amazing—though my elbow hurt like the dickens by the time I was done by holding up the left half of the book!  It did take me over six hours of reading though!  There are five story arcs in the first 41 issues of the main series.  They each tell a story, though some may leave you guessing how exactly they’re connected, they all introduce characters who will likely have a role later on, or will leave you taken aback at how cold and harsh the world can be.  Be warned though, it is violent, there is bad language.  There is some nudity (though very little and nothing exploitative).  But it is one of the most human books you could ever read.  It’s definitely a nice break from the super hero set, and all their fantastic powers.  The people in Stray Bullets are vulnerable, and while many of them are tough, they’re far from superhuman.

While I don’t want to give too much away (and really saying anything could be a potential spoiler) there is one character I don’t mind talking about, and that is the infamous Amy Racecar.  Amy is actually a character made up by one of the characters in the story, who writes fiction about Amy Racecar—the most wanted criminal in the galaxy.  Amy is tough, Amy is violent, Amy stops at nothing to get what she wants.  In other words, Amy Racecar is the perfect escapist fantasy, and seeing the world of the little girl who created her, it makes perfect sense why Amy Racecar is the way she is.  Amy’s stories often provide a welcome detour from the grim and gritty plotlines of the usual characters and their real life woes, as they are often ultra-violent, totally unrealistic, and usually quite hilarious in some way.

I will also say that the way Stray Bullets Über Alles ends with the recently released issue #41 ends the series on somewhat of a high note, though one that is simultaneously awesome and yet very sad at the same time.  In fact, I found myself not only laughing out loud multiple times throughout this book, but crying too at some of the great tragedies that are told between its covers.  The ending is hopeful, as is issue #2 of Killers—well, somewhat I guess.  Not really.  Geez.  It’s a mixed bag.  But every issue is a joy to behold.

With that fellow Super-Flyers and Fly-Hards, I need to head to bed.  I’m writing this at the last minute, but as promised last week, it’s something new at least for this week’s entry.  While Stray Bullets Über Alles is a $60 book, it is well worth the price of admission, and if you’re not curious enough to take that big a plunge, why not check out Stray Bullets Killers #1?  Super-Fly still has PLENTY of copies for your consumption needs, and of #41 too (though I’d advise reading the issues leading up to #41 first!). BTW, sorry for the lack of interior scans for Stray Bullets but like Tales Designed to Thrizzle, no reproductions are allowed without author’s consent! Better luck next time!

So until next time gang, stay awesome!  I’ll see you at Super-Fly!

Past entries of the Read My Library Blog

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