Free Comic Book Day 2010 - Part One

Free Comic Book Day 2010

So every year Erin and I do a trip through the big NYC comic shops on Free Comic Book Day. This means we end up with a lot of comics.  Many of them are duplicates, which we distribute among our friends and coworkers who had to be elsewhere on the first Saturday in May, but we still end up with a sizable assortment. 

Why does Free Comic Book Day exist?  Everyone gets something they want.  We get free comic books.  The stores get a high volume of traffic, some of whom buy something.  (And yes, I pretty much always buy something on Free Comic Book Day.)  The publishers get a sample book into the hands of potential new customers.

I always read all our FCBD books, even though many of them are uninteresting.  This year, I'm sharing that experience with you.  Aren't you lucky?  For each book, I'll tell you the title, the publisher if possible, what I thought of it, rate it from 1 to 5, and tell you how likely reading this book has made me to purchase further issues of the title.  Because aren't those potential sales the true measure of free promotional stuff?  Titles with a / in the middle indicate a double-sided book, in which I have arbitrarily chosen one side to be the front.  Along the way, we'll get a sense of the breadth of material comics actually covers.

In alphabetical order, with pictures!

Action & Adventure/Blondie     IDW
Fun little sampling of reprints of classic newspaper strips.  Seeing just a few of the serial-style in a row, though, reminds one that the characters spend most of their time stating the obvious.  The art is really cool, though.  And as far as writing, I liked the Blondie ones best, surprisingly!   
Rating:  4     Buy another?  Nope

The Action Bible
Oh dear.  This is funny in all the wrong ways.  I almost soaked this with a spit-take when I saw the ad on the inside cover promoting it as both ACTION-PACKED and HISTORICALLY-ACCURATE!  Yeah... no.  Although it was about the Plagues, so you can't get too boring.  Plus a point for making the "Angel of Death" look like a Ringwraith.
Rating:  2     Buy another?  No Way

Archie's Summer Splash     ArchieComics
I get one of these for free once a year, and for some reason, instead of using it to protect my table from paint, I read it first.  This is always a mistake.   
Rating:  1     Buy another?  No Way

Artifacts     Top Cow
Hey, a Witchblade comic I actually kinda found intriguing!  I want to like Witchblade, although I'm not sure why, but have never gotten into it.  This issue is a intro to what looks like a standard assemble-all-the-magic-items story, but that actually makes it more accessible for me.
Rating:  4     Buy another?  Possible

Atomic Robo     Red 5 Comics
I really liked Atomic Robo last year, and it was pretty cute this year too.  In tone, it's a bit like a less dark Hellboy.  The other main sample in this issue is of NeoZoic.  Ninja chick fights dinosaurs.  In the right mood, I could be all over this.   
Rating:  5     Buy another?  Possible

Bongo Comics Free-For-All     Bongo
Par for this title, which is to say: boring.  The best I can say is it manages to be inoffensive
Rating:  2     Buy another?  No Way

Captain America 600     Marvel
A back issue from last year being pushed as a freebie, it looked like Jim Hanley's Universe had ordered way too many of this back in August, considering how many they plainly still had.  An “event” comic taking place a year after the death of Cap, it's last summer's re-cap, leading into bringing back the character.  It didn't suck, although some of the scattered stories were silly.   
Rating:  4     Buy another?  Nope

DC Kids Mega Sampler     DC
Nothing special here. Slightly less annoying than last year's Tiny Titans, this has an assortment of short pieces from DC's All Ages titles.  The Magic of Shazam and Batman:Brave and the Bold didn't suck, and even the Tiny Titans piece had a nice moment.  But nothing stands out here for me.
Rating:  3     Buy another?  Nope

Del Rey Showcase
Handful of excerpts from book-to-comic adaptations here.  Pride and Predjudice and Zombies had some nice moments, but was incoherent in its brevity.  The Talisman adaptation looks serviceable, but the other two were dull, and very poorly laid out.
Rating:  3     Buy another?  Probably not

Doctor Solar/Magnus     Dark Horse
Fun revamp of some old heroes.  Two decent sized story-intros in this issue, nice art, good writing, but probably not something I'll follow up on, just not quite my taste.  Although we did get a copy signed by the writer and artist, which is cool.
Rating:  4     Buy another?  Possible

Dope Flounder 
Surprisingly not-sucky for an indie sampler, those usually completely turn me off.  Short autobiographical pieces, not bad at all, but not something I would seek out.   
Rating:  3     Buy another?  Nope

Dose II     Indelible Comics
This is actually a Back Issue that was being given away.  It wasn't as openly offensive either to my sensibilites or my intelligence as I expected, but it was boring.
Rating:  2     Buy another?  No Way

EC Sampler     Gemstone Publishing
Actually a FCBD book from a few years back, I've read it before.  It was worth re-reading, though.  A selection of really great shorts, reprinted from the 50's.  I approve.  I'd be more likely to purchase additional EC comics if the compilations weren't so expensive!
Rating:  5     Buy another?  Possible

Fractured Fables     Image
Complete short stories here, with a range of art and writing styles.  I found it fairly charming overall, although I think the first one (a fairly obvious spin on Red Riding Hood) was my favorite.
Rating:  5     Buy another?  Possible

GI Joe A Real American Hero     IDW
Wow.  They have some guts to put this out as their FCBD title.  It's a continuation of the original GI Joe comic.  The one that  last published in 1994.  And good luck making heads or tails of this if you're not already a fan.  I was cautiously intrigued, and liked the art.  It did remind me of the experience of buying comics as a kid.  I only had a couple, purchased from different series at widely disparate times.  So you have this tiny sliver of story and character, and this sense that there is more, but it's hard to deduce from the material at time.  Good luck to them with this series, though.
Rating:  3     Buy another?  Nope

Green Hornet     Dynamite
They try to preview too many books here, giving each only a couple pages.  That isn't enough to get a sense of anything.
Rating:  3     Buy another?  Nope

Iron Man Nova     Marvel
Not quite as good as the previous years' Marvel Superheroes issue, (which was my favorite FCBD book last year) but still a cute all ages romp, despite some weak writing.  I have a soft spot for one-issue superhero stories that are gently campy but still coherent.
Rating:  4     Buy another?  Possible

Iron Man Thor     Marvel
Didn't suck.  Decent moments for both Stark and Thor.  I appreciate FCBD books that tell a complete story, though they have to rush to do it.
Rating:  4     Buy another?  Probably not

Next Week: Free Comic Book Day - Part 2


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