Sunday, October 23, 2011
First -- after the usual dreadful NJ Transit bus experience, which must be expected -- was lunch at Schnipper's Quality Kitchen, which is coming to be our favorite quick-stop food place in NYC. It's amazingly convenient -- right across from the bus terminal -- and the food is really good, and reasonably priced for where it is. (Thing 2 and I split a full order of their wonderful mac & cheese this time -- it's huge and gooey and tasty and comes hot, just the way it should.)
Then, we made a quick flying stop at Midtown Comics, in part because I was two books behind on the "read a novel, tell me the story, get a free manga" program with Thing 2 -- he's been on a tear through the Narnia books, after finishing the Lemony Snicket series, and is now also reading the first Artemis Fowl book as well.  While I was there, I got a few things for myself, but let me delay telling you about them just slightly, so I can shoehorn in the ostensible purpose of the trip:
We had tickets for the Reduced Shakespeare Company's Complete World of Sports (Abridged), the first of this season's shows as our favorite theater, the New Victory. (I've wanted to see the RSC for ages -- I read their original show, The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged), when it was published as a playscript in the early '90s, but they hadn't hit NYC between 1993 and last year, when Shakespeare had a run at the New Victory, and I couldn't convince the boys that they'd enjoy it.) Sports was a hoot and a half: it zoomed along at a quick clip for almost two hours (with an intermission) and was really, really funny almost every single second. (There were a few moments of sports-appropriate pathos.) My boys both loved it to death; it's a great entertainment, particularly for boys, and I recommend it even to people who don't like sports all that much (like me, for example).
(It's running for another two weeks or so at the New Victory, and it's on tour beyond that -- so it will probably be close to many of you sometime soon.)
But the real purpose of this post is the books I got -- there were a half-dozen for the boys (the two Thing 2 had already earned, another one that he got for telling me the plot of The Horse and His Boy later that day, and three more to have in reserve), plus slightly more than that for me. I haven't been to a comics shop since sometime early this summer, so I didn't even get half of the books I was looking for, but here's what I did get:
The Great Northern Brotherhood of Canadian Cartoonists, the second "sketchbook" graphic novel by the cartoonist known only as Seth -- he really should work with the Norwegian cartoonist Jason sometime, possibly on a biography of Cher. It looks at least mildly silly, and I'm hoping it's not too insider-y about cartooning and being Canadian and things like that. Seth's work to date has been remarkably consistent, though, even his previous "sketchbook" work, the slightly less serious but still smart Wimbledon Green.
Hellboy: The Bride of Hell and Others by Mike Mignola and compatriots. The flood wiped out all of my previous Hellboy books, so this is now the only one I have in the house. (Although I am starting to look at those fancy recent hardcovers...)
Similarly, I also got B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth Volume 1: New World, also set in the Hellboy-verse, by Mignola with John Arcudi and Guy Davis, which begins a new series of stories after the giant war with the frog-creatures.
And there was a new Roger Langridge book, The Show Must Go On, collecting a whole passel of random Langridge cartoons from the past twenty years. Since I've only gotten into Langridge recently -- and because, I think, all of his Muppet Show collections are upstairs with the boys -- I don't think I actually lost any of his books in the flood, which is a rarity.
There's a new annual edition of Love and Rockets: New Stories -- the fourth one -- by Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez, and I'm pretty sure it's now the only book I have in the house by either of those guys now. (I had the full old Fantagraphics run of Love and Rockets, as the twenty-odd individual numbered books, plus the more recent books.)
Richard Sala had a new graphic novel, The Hidden, and I snapped that up.
And last was the new reprint of Gahan Wilson's great strip for the '70s National Lampoon, Nuts. I actually did have the old paperback edition of Nuts that was published twenty-some years ago -- by whom, I don't remember -- but I was going to get this to replace it anyway, so I don't feel bad at all about losing that one book in the flood. (Which, I suppose, is a start.)
 And, yes, I am plotting for what I can give him next. (Actually, I did hook him on Snicket, but both Narnia and Master Fowl were recommendations from school -- I think his teacher, but it could be the librarian as well.) I'm definitely going to get him a copy of The Hobbit, especially with the movie coming, and I might toss him either Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles, Diana Wynne Jones's Chrestomanci books, or Susan Cooper's Dark Is Rising (though that one doesn't start as strongly) as well.