Thursday, May 07, 2009

My first Free Comic Book Day !

Because I have to undergo surgery Tomorrow and will most likely be out of comission for a week I thought it´s time for my post on my first FREE COMIC BOOK DAY ( I will write this in small letters from now on because that´s easier if you type with one finger ) that I have already postponed twice.

The free comic book day has been around a few years but so far I never really participated because my old comic shop never really had any interest in it. Sometimes I would find an issue or two but mostly I saw the issues at comic fairs.

Well, this time I asked at my new comic shop how they handled the thing. They have the policy that you can order as much different free comics as you want ( only one copy of each ) but they can´t guarantee you will get them all. The first five comic are free every additional comic costs 50 cent ( that´s EURO cent ). At first I wanted to order them all but then I managed to thin it down a bit.

In the end I ordered 15 of which I got 11. Not a bad quota. I went to the comic shop to pick them up because I planned to read them after surgery but since that turned out to be later than I thought I have already read most of them. I´m going to split this up into two posts since I still haven´t read them all and I don´t want to write about comics I haven´t read. But it´s really high time to do this post since free comic book day is over for a few days now.

First of all I have to say that it´s just three kinds of cool to go home with 11 comics for two bucks. That kind of reminded me of my beginnings as a comic reader when comics in general were 50 Pfenning or 1 Deutschmark.

After reading the comics I have to say that not all of them are successful as a free giveaway comic which main purpose is to promote the material inside. I know one of the reasons is to promote comics and how much fun comics are in general. To get kids to read. But it should also take the reader by the hand and introduce him to the particular part of comic pop culture within it´s pages. And not all of the comics I got mange that. So I´m doing a small rundown of the comics I got and how I would rate them.


This is one comic I ordered but didn´t get. The only reason I´m mentioning it at all is that my brother had an issue of the series in his last comic order. So I´m not too sorry that I didn´t get this. The idea of a bounty hunter / lost soul / antihero who has to bring in soul / angels / devils / demons who have escaped hell / are on earth without permission to get revenge / redemption / his soul back ( choose your plot ) is not really original. Especially now that REPO is on tv which has kind of a similar plot. And the art is not really that good to make it all worthwhile.

I will probably read the following issues ( if my brother gets them ) but so far it sounds like the standard manga story and is not on my radar.


This is not really a free comic but more of a catalogue. Which is the reason I ordered it in the first place. I had never heard of Impact University and this book gives you a good sample of the art tutorials they offer. As somebody who dabbles in art myself ( when I´m not suffering from an injured shoulder or carpal tunnel syndrome ) I´m always looking for good how - to books which are usually hard to find. With this comic you can see what they offer, what you need and what you don´t. And it also includes the webadress which nowadays is a must.

So this is rather informative than entertaining but I got what I wanted so that´s okay.


Okay, I ordered this one out of pure nostalgia. A while back I wrote something about the MV Comix I used to read when I was a kid which included ARCHIE. Which in turn made me realize that I haven´t read a single Archie comic since then. Somehow I was always much more focused on Batman or Green Lantern which is why I never know who is Betty and who is Veronica. And why Archie has such a hard time choosing - just throw a coin man. They´re both hot. And when in doubt go with the girl who has money. That never hurts.

Anyway, this comics includes four stories and while the art was not done by classic Archie artist Dan DeCarlo ( for his hotter work check out his pin up books from FANTAGRAPHICS )

it still has the Archie house style - although I heard somewhere that they are publishing some books where they try to avoid that look. All in all I now know why I don´t read Archie comics. I don´t know if the stories only work at a certain age or the play of words are just not funny to me but I found it kind of boring. If you are already a fan you will probably like this comic but if not then I doubt that this comic will convince you.

I´m not sure how this would rate on the basis of promoting the franchise but let´s face it - if you don´t know Archie comics you´re living in another galaxy. On the other hand you have to remind some comic readers that there are still Archie comics published.


Another comic where I´m unsure how good it promotes the franchise - or in this case - the publisher is the Bongo Comics Free for all. Even I have some comics of the Simpson or mostly of Radioactive Man. Aside from the occasionally Futurama comic that does a rip off of a superhero story most of the Simpson comics I have are in spanish.

The thing about " holiday comics ", the comics you buy when you´re on holiday, is that sometimes availability is the most important parameter. So when the only comics that are available in Torredembarra are some superhero comics you already have and some Simpson comics you don´t know you go with the Simpson comics. Most of the german Simpson comics I got are from the dollar bin since they have a large readership in Germany - ten times as many as in the states. You can practically find them at every newsstand, train station or supermarket here.

Now this comic includes two Simpson stories, one Futurama story and one superhero story. Like the Archie comic nothing really spectacular that draws new readers to the titles.


Now this comic really is one of the better free comics of this year. With material from BATMAN THE BOLD AND THE BRAVE, TINY TITANS, SUPER FRIENDS and BILLY BATSON AND THE POWER OF SHAZAM it gives you a hint of what the books are like while at the same time makes you want to come back for more.

Now I would have preferred to get some story pages of Super Friends but I guess they wanted to show diversity. In the Shazam story I found it really annoying that most of it was written in the " secrect monster society of evil code " which you have to decode. That was something that annoyed me in the Jeff Smith story and I really hate it when they use kryptonian or interlac in comics without translating it.

I mean for decades it was okay to use all the " translated from russian ", " translated from klingon " or " translated from skrull " without ever bothering to come up with a language to decode. And now it´s all like school or stuff. Sorry, but that takes me out of the story which a good comic writer should avoid.

Aside from that it´s a good sampler and while I won´t buy any issues of the Brave and Bold the Tiny Titans part is just gold.


If you are a Love and Rockets fan you just have to get this free comic book day comic. Although if you really are you probably already know that the new stories are out and you don´t need it.

Another one of the better free comics of this year it shows samples of different stories appearing in the new stories which for me is also the crux of it. Ever since I started reading Love and Rockets I have always been ambivalent about it. While I really love the parts by Jaime Hernandez I´m not too thrilled by the stories of his brother Gilbert. Jaime´s stories are always fun to read with a light and classic looking line.

Gilbert´s comics just are mostly so filled with human drama that I´m exhausted after 20 pages and at the end I feel like some giant dog has been chewing on me and spat me out. So since the Palomar trilogy I´m trying to avoid Gilbert´s stuff which means I will be waiting for the trade on this one to see if I can get the Jaime stuff in a seperate collection.

Still, some beautiful stuff especially the Penny Century story that let´s Jaime flex his superhero muscles.


Speaking of superheroes Fist of Justice doesn´t reinvent the wheel but the main reason why I ordered it is that it´s published by Digital Webbing. Now Digital Webbing is the comic book creative community where people like INVINCIBLE´s Uncle Wya started. Back in the days when I had a functioning computer I was pretty active there writing lots of posts on the message boards and interacting with the community.

Ever since they announced their print comic DIGITAL WEBBING PRESENTS I have been meaning to get an issue but somehow that never worked out. So when I saw this I just had to order it. Like I said this comic is not revolutionising superhero comics but it tells a solid story that is a good introduction to the world of Fist of Justice. You can find all the necessary information in the story without lots of expositionary dialogue. Althpugh I have noticed that all mangas like YUGI - OH or NARUTO use it very heavily. So I´m not entirely sure how out of date it really is.

Fist of Justice offers a nice package with a full story and I´m definitely going to look for more issues. In fact I think there´s an issue in the newest PREVIEWS.


My favorite free comic book day comic is the tenth issue of the book Love and Capes. While it may sound risky to take an entire issue of an ongoing series for free comic book day in this case it really works out. I ordered this on a whim without any big expectations and I was totally blown away.

The idea of combining romance with superhero with ordinary life is not really new but in this case it all meshes together so well it´s astounding. The characters seem familiar right away and the art evokes a classic feeling that makes it timeless. The story in this issue has Abby - fiancee of Deco City´s defender The Crusader - getting superpowers through magical means to better understand that part of her significant other´s life.

While it has some in - jokes ( like ALL of the superheroine costumes in the computer look slutty ) and some really funny stuff ( like Abby asking why bank robbers throw their guns when they run out of bullets ) there´s a really touching story beneath it about what it really means to be a superhero and the price you have to pay. A bittersweet superhero love story that everybody should read.

I know I totally recommend it and I have to see where I can get more of it.

So this is the end of the first part of my first free comic book day but I can already say that it was really fantastic and I can´t wait till next year. I got some comics that were okay, some that were good and some that surprised me and will go directly on my pull list. I´m not quite happy that I have to end this now but I still have to prepare stuff for the hospital. If you want to find out more about FREE COMIC BOOK DAY and this year´s free comics here are some links :

  • all you need to know about free comic book day

  • the beginnings of free comic book day

  • all free comics of 2009 with pdf previews

  • postmodernbarney´s free comic book day reviews

  • comics worth reading´s free comic book day picks

  • weekly crisis reviews with spoilers

  • some short reviews from mania

  • fist of justice preview

  • love and capes homepage

  • interview with jaime hernandez

  • dan decarlo pin up art

  • Well, I hope you had a fun free comic book day and I will hopefully be back with my usual ramblings in one week.

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