Apr 14, 2016

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 415: Anna & Froga/Moomin Valley Turns Jungle, May 2012 ("Hey Kids! Comics!" Week, Day 3)

http://www.comics.org/issue/944469/

Today's selection was a giveaway for Free Comic Book Day 2012. There was a time in the short history of FCBD that stores would set out tables full of comics, and you could just take what you liked. It's now become a buy one get one sort of situation, which I'm totally against, but having not been a comic shop owner for quite some time now, I've no say in how these things progress.

"Anna & Froga" is an odd little comic. Froga's a bit of a dick, and from the brief couple of stories in this issue, I can't really see why Anna is his friend. Unless she's a dick too, but we haven't seen that in the stories contained herein. There are, as with most good children's writing, some pedagogical moments happening here (i.e., don't eat gumballs from the ground, don't take advantage of the friendship of a tuna - you know, common lessons we all need to learn), and Anouk Ricard's deceptively simple art style gives the stories not only the thematic feeling of childhood, but also the visual feeling.

The B-side (or is it a double A-side) of the comic is a reprint of the Moomin comic strip. I've been aware of these stories for a couple of decades. Back when I was active on the Barbelith discussion forums, someone recommended the Moomin children's books to me. I never did get around to reading them, but every now and again these reprints crop up in a FCBD offering, and I think that perhaps I ought to read them. Which, really, is what FCBD ought to be about. My understanding of it at the beginning, and I had my store for the first FCBD, was that it was designed to bring in readers, and to expose jaded readers to things they hadn't read before. Now, sadly, it's more a marketing tool for big summer crossovers from the Big Two, and an incentive program for comic stores (well, not all of them, but a lot).

FCBD is coming up in less than a month, and I strongly recommend heading out to your local comics store and trying out something new. You might be surprised by what you read. Onward!

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