Monday, January 3, 2011

Escaping to The Great Escape

This was the only picture I could find of The Great Escape

The peace of the holiday season is usually broken by the requisite visit with family in Louisville, Kentucky. I visit my grandfather in the nursing home, help my aunt organize piles of paper in her office, and sleep on deflating air mattresses. Spending time with family can get stressful, but luckily I have an escape: The Great Escape.

The Great Escape sells comic books, videos, music and other trappings of nerdom. I mainly go for the large collection of used indie and mainstream comics. I check over every shelf and ratty box at least a few times before making a selection. Sometimes I find a comic I’ve been meaning to buy for a while. Other times, I choose something promising that I haven’t encountered before. I bought Maus I and II there, as well as Kim Deitch’s Boulevard of Broken Dreams and Alias the Cat, and my favorite book by Gilbert Hernandez, Fear of Comics.

I bought an extremely odd assortment of comics this trip. My least expensive comic was Peter Kuper’s Comics Trips, costing a mere 66 cents. This book tracks Kuper’s eight-month travel through parts of Africa and Asia. I was fascinated by the combination of sketches, comics, and photos. My biggest issue with the book was that Kuper’s comic narrative ended in Africa, with no description of Asia. It seems as though Kuper, exhausted by too many months of travel (and diarrhea), gave up on his journal. And it sort of makes me angry that he would publish a half-completed story. But what am I complaining about? I bought it for 66 cents.

Much to my amazement, I found two comics by Carlos Trillo, one of my favorite Argentine writers. These comics are presents for Avery, so I can’t go into too much detail, but they were perfect examples of Trillo’s writing: grim, terrifying, with lots of violence and unhappy endings.

On a completely different bent, I also bought Owly: Flying Lessons and Scott Pilgrim Volume 4. The store was having a 30% off sale on everything, so I was able to afford new comics. Because these comics were not filled with graphic violence, I was able to share them with family members. I made my 29-year-old cousin read Owly with me and we translated all the pictorial dialogue into words, arguing about meaning. My sister and I decided to start collecting Scott Pilgrim after my friend Mark bought me the first issue as a present. We quote Scott’s ridiculous lines to each other at least two times a day.

In sum, the Great Escape is awesome and prevents me from going insane over the holiday. If any of you should happen to visit Louisville, check it out!

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