Thursday, May 28, 2015

Free Super-powered Library Cards on May 30th!

Summer is fast approaching and across the country libraries are gearing up for their annual summer reading programs. The Union County Public Library System is no exception to that, and with the theme centering around heroes and superheroes, it's a great time to launch the system's second "super-powered" library card.
Last year's card, aka, the original!
The cards (last year's and this year's) were designed by Al Bigley (Batman TAS, Sonic, West Coast Avengers, Darkhawk, Power Rangers, Geminar, Tao Boy & Machine) and primarily are used as a fund-raiser for the library system to purchase new technology or to upgrade existing technology that is geared towards early literacy (helping young children prepare for reading). This year's card not only differs in layout, but Bigley has two new heroes for this year's card, flying out of a storybook. Last year, the heroes featured were reading and using the digital technology the library offers.
The new, equally awesome card!
These library cards are endowed with awesome abilities far beyond the reach of mere mortal library cards. First, the check out limit increases by five items. Next, a patron can request or reserve up to five items to be sent from other libraries. The regular card allows for three. Next, time does not hold the same constraints for the super powered card. Items can be returned up to two days late without incurring the wrath of the overdue fine! Finally, these cards are just wholly and entirely awesome with Al Bigley's art on it!
Normally, these cards are three dollars and are good for one year. But for one day, May 30th, the cards are free to any library card holder who has registered for summer reading! It's a great way to get into a super summer, and we hope lots of people show them off.Stop by any UCPL library this Saturday between 1:00 and 5:00 to get yours!
For more information on this or other library events, go to

Free Comic Book Day 2015 in Review

Free Comic Book Day was May 2 this year, and the turnout seemed to be every bit as good as any other year. Offer FREE comics and they will come! But before you think I am calling anyone out, I admit I am at the front of that line. Where I live there are no comic book stores. With the exception of some thrift stores and one used book seller, there are no bookstores where I live, either. Not in the entire county. One of the fastest growing counties in the nation over the last 20 years. Maybe it is an indication of how technology and things like ebooks and Amazon have changed the book market. I can tell you, business at the library still remains brisk.
Getting back to this post, though, I don't like venturing too far into Charlotte traffic if it can be helped, so my trips to the comic stores are limited by time, money and willingness to make the trip. Free comics for me and my son are worth the trip. Plus, FCBD really is a comics event with the early releases, guest artists and great cosplayers.
The early line. Waiting for the store to open...
This year, we started out at Heroes Aren't Hard to Find again. We were on a tight schedule with other things going on that day and decided to make the furthest location our first location. Arriving early (about 9:30) we found one of the last parking spaces that had no restricted parking or time limitations (Yes!) on it. Jordan put on his MRD Agent gear (Mutant Response Division from the cartoon Wolverine and the X-Men) and I was decked out as Dr. Henry Jones, Jr., aka Indiana Jones.
 The line was long, but not too bad, and the sunny weather was still relatively cool for this time of year making for ideal conditions for everyone. I was able to keep my brown leather jacket on, it was that comfortable. Artist John Hairston was there early, and I could be wrong, but it seems every time I see him that he is having the time of his life at these kinds of events. The Ghostbusters' Ecto-1 was on site and I got to talk shop with one of the Ghostbusters for awhile who shared his story of how he got what may have been a movie used Indian Jones fedora! Very cool story.There were other cosplayers in line as well; Punisher, a SHIELD agent, the Penguin, Eclipso, and a young boy with a kick-butt Green Arrow costume and the stance to go with it.
Arrow and Batman!
 While we were waiting to go into the store, the local CW affiliate, WCCB 18, showed up with a slew of prizes for answering trivia questions about Arrow, Flash, and a couple other TV shows.
 By far the coolest thing I saw during the time at Heroes was a father and son sitting on a bench outside the store, reading a Spider-man comic together. This is what FCBD is about- getting people into comics and giving them the opportunity to share their love of comics and reading with others. I tried to get a picture but my camera phone would not cooperate!
Harley and company at the end of the early line. Note Eclipso about three people back!
Once inside the store, we made our way to the back where the staff had the free comics spread out on a table. Comics with flip covers were displayed side-by-side so people who would be looking for a book by one cover could find it easily. My son and I took only the comics we were interested in (which was still quite a bit, honestly!) and the staff carefully wrapped and sealed our bundles so we could continue shopping.When it came to my turn, the staff saw my Indy outfit and the lines started coming, "Indiana Jones..." "You call him Dr. Jones!" "We named the dog Indiana." "No time for love Dr. Jones!" Before leaving I looked to see if there were any deals I could get. I don't like going to FCBD without making some kind of purchase to thank the store. Since my funding was sorely limited at that time, I finally settled on some comic book bags to put some of my comic board artwork into.
SHIELD and Punisher!
 We were ahead of schedule leaving Heroes around 11:30 and made a stop at Pennyworth's in Matthews. It was our first time there for FCBD and we found some free comics that we did not find at Heroes, which was a pleasant surprise. We bought a couple comics while there, got a cople Legion of Super Hero rings and heard the same litany of Indiana Jones one-liners.
 We made it home by 12:30 and plenty of time to get cleaned up and ready for the rest of the day. Overall, a very good time and time well spent with my son.

My son as a Mutant Response Agent and yours truly as Dr. Jones.