In but a barren wasteland, I have not… except comics.

Me relaxing with the kids on the deck.

This summer… actually this whole year has been busy.  Between real work (the one that pays the bills), Comic Book Daily, family commitments and volunteering for my local fall fair, I have been busy.  Too busy.

As a family we try to take a family vacation.  Unfortunately I can’t take more than a couple of days off so we have to plan something close, so we can maximize our family time.  Last year we headed to Southern Ontario for a couple of days.  It was nice to be away.

But this year we have a new addition to our family.  An 8 month old… who is 65 lbs.  We got a puppy.  A big puppy.  A great dane mixed with a bull mastiff.  She’s too young to leave in a hotel room by herself during the day, and I don’t want to leave her in a kennel so I had to come up with a new plan for our summer vacation.

Then I remembered my cousin’s cabin up north.  It’s peaceful.  It’s serene.  There is limited cell service, no electricity and no plumbing.

Perfect.

It looks a little rough but it’s roomy inside. Just kidding, this wasn’t the cabin we stayed in.

But being unplugged from the world now may be a chore that we are not accustomed to.  We start to rely on our digital entertainment too much.  Without TV, video games, DVD’s, Blu-Ray’s, Twitter and Facebook… would we be able to survive.

Hopefully.

But then I remembered one thing I could take with me to entertain myself… comics.

Comics are the ultimate form of portable entertainment.  You don’t need electricity to enjoy it.  You barely need any lighting.  Just enough to make out the words.

On our vacation I decided that we wouldn’t watch TV or anything.  My kids have PSPs, Nintendo DS’ and Gameboys but those gadgets were going to stay home.  I brought the portable DVD player with us, but after we got up to the cabin I decided it was going to stay in the truck.  My kids would have to learn to entertain themselves with nothing but what we brought and their imagination.  Unfortunately for them they didn’t bring their comics with them.  But I remembered to pack mine.

Traveling the way we did, a trade paperback is your best friend.  Bringing up monthly floppy books would have been alright but I went through my trade collection to find something that I haven’t read in a while.  I also wanted to find a book with some meat to it.  I didn’t want to breeze through my book in 45 minutes.  I wanted something to keep me entertained when we were cooped up inside.  I brought 6 trades with me, I only read 2 of them (I am impressed, I was able to keep busy outside for a couple of days).

This is the view to the west of the cabin.

For my trip away I brought The Losers Book 1 & 2, Wolverine Origin, Classic G.I. Joe #15, Zatanna Mistress of Mystery and Zatanna Shades of the Past.  I thought about bringing a larger book like the John Byrne Fantastic Four Omnibus, Walt Simonson’s Thor Omnibus or the Daredevil Born Again Artists edition but these are beautiful books and I didn’t want them lying around the cabin, or get damaged in my luggage.

A comic is portable, you can move to where ever you’d like.  You can sit in any position.  You can’t do that with a laptop.

If you need to get up and do something else, it is easy to keep your place.  All you need is a book mark.  You don’t need to power down anything, or power it up again.

I know lots of people are all Gung Ho on digital comics, but I still prefer to be low-tech when it comes to reading.  It was relaxing to kick back with a copy of The Losers: Book One and sit on the couch.  A coffee in one hand and my big puppy sitting on the couch beside me.

On our last day a storm was rolling in.

It was a holiday I really needed.  We were roughin’ it but I relaxed.  I recharged and I am ready for a really busy Fan Expo weekend that is coming up very quickly.

I will be covering Fan Expo on Saturday and Sunday for Comic Book Daily.  Stay tuned for all the news and opinions you need for this year’s Fan Expo.