There's something about super heroes, or even pretend super heroes, that makes adults honk, kids shriek, and all of us smile. It's something I realized walking along 10th Avenue in my Bat Girl costume on Friday. We were there for a Random Act of Kindness.
Oxford Comics had donated free comic books to give away to kids from The Children's School on their field day. Somehow the collective Halloween costumes of the newsroom came up with a Batman, Bat girl, Ironman, and a few loose pieces. Crash Clark turned those into "11Alive Man" with the addition of a polo, cape, and mask.
We looked ridiculous. We felt ridiculous. And they loved it.
People honked, took photos, and gushed about our super powers. And those were the adults.
Perhaps it's that super hero allure that has Oxford Comics going strong for 34 years in an era where independent bookstores are as rare as kryptonite. Owner Mike Van Houten says the resurgence of all things "retro" has boosted sales. Although he might argue with the super hero analogy (he stresses comic book stores sell all genres), he agrees there's something that keeps people coming back.
He sees parents who used to read comic books bring their kids. He tracks the journey through those awkward years by an evolution of comics. And he sees huge crowds come every year for Free Comic Book Day.
"It started as an idea like Baskin Robin's free scoop day," he told 11Alive's Julie Wolfe. "Except we have artwork that tells a story." And, for some, the taste turns into a passion.
By the time Oxford Comics opens at 10:00 on Saturday, there will be a line of people waiting for their free comic book. Many will be wearing costumes. I understand why. Nothing makes you feel cooler than a cape and an alias.
FREE COMICS: Find a comic store near you