Thirty-five years ago at this very moment, you would find me on a bicycle peddling madly up Lancaster Drive to WedgewoodPlaza. The bike was metallic green, which was cool, but not as cool as the banana-seat bikes that were appearing in the neighborhood. Entering the outdoor plaza by the hidden bike-safe entrance, I weaved around the bowling alley, passed by the cinema, and pulled up in front of Gray Drugs. At about the third aisle, the owners perched a tall rotating metal rack filled with comic books. They cost 10 cents, then 12, 20, and beyond. My allowance allowed for the purchase of one comic book because of the additional expenses that accumulated during a week, such as candy and baseball cards. The store employees might hover, but they never rushed the selection process. My inclination went toward the most number of pages, though a good cover could win out.
On Saturday, May 6, I will once again ride my metallic green bicycle (still no banana seat) to my neighborhood comic-book shop. And I don't need to bring any allowance --- it's Free Comic Book Day! For five years, the comics industry has supported its retailers and customers with this promotional bombshell. You show up at the comic shop and they give you a comic book printed just for the occasion --- maybe even more than one; maybe you pick. But who cares? It's free! Everything from the Archies to the X-Men is a possibility, alongside a bushel full of independent and downright creative titles.
Local participating stores include Comics Etc.(Village Gate, 473-7150), Hammergirl Anime (370 Jefferson Road, 475-9330), All Heroes (4410 Lake Avenue, 865-9113), Lost Worlds (92 Main Street, Macedon, 315-986-7858), Collector's Choice (54 Main Street, Brockport, 637-8556), and Joe's Comics in Geneseo (243-4240). Be sure to call ahead for hours, directions, policies, and whether or not a metallic green bicycle is required.
--- Craig Brownlie
Compared to the kid's series of my youth, today's Saturday morning shows seem to have lost a good deal of their... insanity (Teletubbies and Boohbah notwithstanding). Cartoons and commercials from the '80s overflowed with cracked out, throw-everything-against-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks creativity that almost surely sprang from their creators having too much fun in the drugged-out '70s. How else could you explain the Care Bears, He-Man, Garbage Pail Kids, or The Noid? Who in their right mind would think that Dinosaucers, about talking dinosaurs from space,or the equally ridiculous (if more self-explanatory) Biker Mice From Mars, were good ideas for TV shows?
But if, like me, you still have a soft spot in your heart for those gonzo cartoons of yore, you'll agree that www.retrojunk.com is pretty much the greatest website ever made. A massive compilation of video files featuring TV theme songs and commercials from the '70s, '80s, and '90s, there's enough here to give you a nostalgia high for days.
When my friends and I recently discovered the site, we spent literally hours poring over all our favorite theme songs. Shows and commercials can be searched for alphabetically by title or by decade. Particular favorites of ours included the openings to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (naturally), Muppet Babies, and Gummi Bears, which came complete with sing-a-long lyrics. It isn't possible for us to be bigger dorks, I know, although I earned extra derision from my friend when I ecstatically raved about finding the theme to Kids Incorporated (anyone else remember that show? Bueller? Bueller?). Visit the site, but be prepared to regress to your 6-year-old self on the spot.
--- Adam Lubitow