In celebration of Free Comic Book Day on Saturday (May 7), we asked Ben Goldsmith, manager of York’s finest (and only) dedicated comic book store Travelling Man to talk us through his favourite characters.
A big red guy who might look like a super villain but is in fact a lovable good guy.
He’s completely in denial of his own destiny and keeps the world at bay from all manner of horrors with a blend of brute strength and … nah, just brute strength really. He punches first, asks questions later. Not a guy to be messed with. The clue is in the name.
Sticking with the hell theme, we have a character who is also known as Hellblazer – John Constantine.
He’s a complex loner, loved as much as he is hated, and proved to be one of the most enduring characters of the 1980s.
Let’s be charitable and say he’s a good guy deep down but he can’t stop making bad decisions.
With a sideline in hucksterism and grifting, he always laughs in the face of death. Probably because he never dies.
Probably the most iconic comic book character ever created.
Unlike many he has no super powers but is a master of fighting and gadgetry, and when his mastery of fighting and gadgetry lets him down, he reveals his mastery of getting out of various forms of devilish bondage with a lot of grunting.
His nemeses – The Joker, The Penguin, Riddler et al – are as famous as him; he probably feels bitter about that, but not as bitter as he feels about Robin’s fame by association.
Travelling Man, Goodramgate, York
Sat May 7 @ 10am-6pm
Not the most dazzling hero, but certainly the dustiest.
Jesse Custer is a throwback to the days of the good ol’ Wild West and the main character in the Preacher series of comic books.
Everything this character does is motivated by love for the people around him, which is controversial but understandable.
Think John Wayne introducing Jim Morrison to Nelson Mandela after a hoe-down by the pearly gates. Stands up and fights for what he believes in but looks cool doing it.
After leaving Elvis’s Jailhouse Rock band, Spider Jerusalem became a drug-addled gonzo journalist and anti-hero of the future.
He devotes his life to delivering the truth to his readers whilst trying to bring down the establishment at the same time.
Hard to picture? Think Owen Jones in the body of a shaven-headed Keith Richards destroying the careers of corrupt politicians via his column in Vice. Vibrant and nonchalantly cool.
Want more? Ben says: “Come along to Free Comic Book Day and search for the hero inside our shelves!”
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