Catch Bird Flu and Buy Some Damn Books
. At 600 pages, Anders Nilsen's Big Questions
is a comic book epic. Unlike the comic book epics you're thinking of—Holocaust memoirs, or men in tights smashing each other silly, depending on what comics you prefer—this one stars a flock of birds who hang around eating seeds and talking about, uh, big questions. ("Well, like, to what extent are we responsible for the fulfillment of our destinies? I mean, if my life is to be meaningful and full, is it up to me to make it that way, or can I just wait for circumstances to come together?") Pretty soon, their world expands. A fighter jet crash lands in the middle of the valley where the birds live. The birds marvel at the crater the plane created, and they try to figure out whether the plane, which hatched a fighter pilot, was a bird or an egg. Soon, they're watching over a young mentally disabled orphan who can't quite take care of himself. Nobody knows what they're doing, but they're trying to do the best they can.
Meanwhile, other birds are dying and journeying to the land of the dead. They encounter snakes and owls and existential dilemmas. You've never read anything quite like Big Questions—imagine if Peanuts suddenly turned into Lord of the Rings and you have a vague idea of the tone—but you'll be thankful you encountered it. This is probably going to be the best—and is definitely the most original—comic of 2011. Nilson reads and shows slides from Big Questions at the Fantagraphics Store tomorrow night at 6 pm. You should go.
2. Tomorrow is a big day for book sales on Capitol Hill. Pistil Books will be selling over a thousand books for $1 and $2 each—more information on that sale is here—and every book in Elliott Bay Book Company is on sale for 20% off on Saturday and Sunday. It's book-shopping central here in the two-block radius!
3. Oh, if only there was some place with every Seattle-area reading listed in chronological order!