Gutters: Issue #289 – Ryan Lee

From: The Gutters

Free Comic Book Day might as well be a national holiday, because it’s second only to Christmas in the comics fan’s mind.

I’ve always said there is a very thin line between collecting and hoarding. So with that in mind, please indulge me as I tell you a little story about me being a jerk.

Way back when, around the time of Episode III, I was way into Star Wars action figures. My friend and I would scour the Toys ‘r’ Us’ and department stores in our area searching for ever elusive holographic Yodas and Clone troopers to round out our garrisons.

One day, I found a Clone Trooper figure that came with a jetpack. I’d never seen this one, so I was pretty excited. Just as I lifted it off it’s peg, a boy about 9 walked up beside me, saw what I had in my hand, looked back to the shelf and sadly asked “is that the last one?”

It was.

I stared at the toy in my hand, considering what to do. I could really use this for my collection… but it was for a kid to play with, right? That’s what this is about, not old guys like me who have the time and income to buy lots of this stuff. Its about a kid getting an exciting new toy to play with, have adventures and love the way that only kids can love their toys.

My mind made up, I turned to offer the Clone Trooper to the little guy… and he was gone.

I felt like such a jerk. I searched the store to see if he had just gone to another section, but he was nowhere to be found. So I put the trooper back on the shelf and left.

I can only hope that some other kid found that action figure and had a blast playing with it, and not an old jerk like me who didn’t really need it.

So, this year on Free Comic Book Day, take a lesson from a jerk: Take only what you need and need what you take. Don’t take multiple copies, don’t take stuff just for the sake of taking it and if there’s one copy of that Superman book that a kid might really be looking forward to? Let them have it.

Today’s Free Comic Book Day PSA comes to us via Ryan Lee:

Ryan Lee is a freelance illustrator/designer diligently working out of his home studio surrounded by foxes and spiders in Northwestern Michigan. Since his graduation from the College for Creative Studies in 1999, he has been steadily working in various creative mediums including (but not limited to) illustration, advertising, graphic design, character design, fine art painting, and storyboards. Most recently, Ryan has refocused his work efforts on the comic book industry, a passion of his since he first picked up a pen as a child.

Have fun and best wishes for Free Comic Book Day from all of us here at Gutters!