Archive for Free Comic Book Day

All the Free Stuff

Free Comic Book Day was Saturday, and it was a heck of a lot of fun. I got to go to both of Denton’s comic book stores, stood in a surprisingly long line for one of them, bought some extra comics and games — some for me, some to give as gifts — and even got to see the very end of the Cinco de Mayo parade.

What were the comics I picked up? Let’s run down the list.


Mouse Guard, Labyrinth and Other Stories: A Free Comic Book Day Hardcover Anthology

Archaia published their second free hardcover in three years for FCBD, and that attention to quality alone got them to the top of the charts for me. Besides Mouse Guard and Labyrinth, the other stories include Ruse, Farscape, Bolivar, and Will O’ The Wisp. Far and away, my favorite story was Mouse Guard, which is always pretty amazing but always seems to pull out all the stops for the FCBD books. Hope you were able to pick this one up, ’cause you sure ain’t gettin’ mine.


Atomic Robo/Bodie Troll/Haunted Free Comic Book Day 2014

Robo and the Action Scientists of Tesladyne travel to Centralia, Pennsylvania to hunt for the Yonkers Devil, while Bodie Troll embarks on a quest for a magical land of yummy food, all on the promise that he’ll get something really awful to eat, and some ghosts chase people in “Haunted.” For once, the Atomic Robo story wasn’t the best of the batch — the Bodie Troll tale was charming and funny and wonderfully cartoony.


Shigeru Mizuki’s Showa: A History of Japan

Funny and insightful autobiographical comics by a man drafted into the Japanese Army during World War II. Our hero starts out thinking army life is pretty easy and sweet, up until everyone in the army decides they should beat him up all the time. Plus we get a look into Japanese society during the war and the mad overconfidence that led their leaders to really believe they could conquer the whole world. This is a genuinely awesome comic — we don’t often see nonfiction comics like this on Free Comic Book Day.


Rocket Raccoon

A fairly cute story about Rocket Raccoon and his funny-animal friends trying to rescue a princess, followed up by an all-ages adventure of Spider-Man, White Tiger, and Nova going into space to rescue Power Man and Iron Fist from a bunch of little green men and… a dentist? Fun reading for kids of all ages.


Teen Titans Go! FCBD Special Edition

Someone’s been stealing Cyborg’s food out of the fridge. Can Robin figure out the culprit? Will Cyborg’s traps foil the thief? And will the team survive a round of mini-golf when the wagers get higher and higher? I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for the Titans — this one has cute storytelling, and it’s far less bloodthirsty, gory, and cynical than DC’s other FCBD comic.


Hello Kitty and Friends

A collection of short Hello Kitty stories by numerous different creators, including Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani of “Tiny Titans” fame, plus a few bonus pages from the Bravest Warriors series. The whole thing was pretty cute, as you’d expect from Hello Kitty — should be a winner for anyone who loves her brand of kawaii.

Comments off

Who Wants Free Comics?


I have had a heck of a rough week, and the only thing that’s made the whole thing bearable is knowing that Saturday is coming, and Saturday is Free Comic Book Day.

I know we’re all excited about getting some free comics, but let’s take a moment for a Public Service Announcement.

First and foremost, not all the comics in the store are free. You won’t be able to go into a comic shop, grab their copy of Action Comics #1 and get it without paying. You won’t be able to load up on graphic novels or every comic in the store for absolutely no money. The publishers put out their own special promotional comics, and those are the only ones that are free. Sometimes, those free comics are really good. Sometimes, they’re not so good. Sometimes, they’re really kinda useless. Sometimes, they end up being one of the best comics of the entire year. It’s kinda the luck of the draw, baby — but they are free, so that’s a nice little benefit, no matter what.

You’ll probably only get one or two of those free comics, too — there are only limited supplies of the free stuff on hand. So you don’t want to wait very late to visit your local shop. Show up when they unlock the doors in the morning, and you’ll have your pick of whatever you want. Show up at quitting time, and there may be nothing at all left.

And finally, please remember that, although the comics are free for you, the stores themselves have to pay for them. That’s right — the publishers make the retailers pay money to get the comics that they then give to you for free. That means that Free Comic Book Day is a money-loser for a lot of stores. They do it because they want potential new customers to come in and see how great comics are. So please, do what you can to let your friendly neighborhood comic shop make a little money this Saturday — when you pick up your free comics, buy a few regular comics, too. Single issues, graphic novels, toys, statues, accessories — buy ’em for yourself, buy ’em for a friend, buy ’em for the sake of a future birthday gift.

Your comic shop is being nice enough to give you some comics for free. Return the favor and buy some regular comics from them.

Everyone have a happy Free Comic Book Day tomorrow!

Comments (2)

Friday Night Fights: The Secret of Time Travel!

Gaah, just ain’t had a lot of time to find some more battles (I’ve been trying to spend more time doing fun writing, as opposed to blog writing, which is frequently not fun), but Friday Night Fights waits for no one, so here we are.

So tonight, here’s Atomic Robo Free Comic Book Day 2009 (which you can and should read right here) by Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener, as we get to witness the first meeting between Atomic Robo and his arch-nemesis, Dr. Dinosaur!






All hail Dr. Dinosaur! ALL HAIL DR. DINOSAUR!

Comments (1)

Tears of a Clown


Hawkeye #10

Most of this issue focuses on a guy named Kazimierz Kasimierczak, a guy who grew up in a war-torn region of Europe, saw his whole family killed during various acts of war, and eventually grew up to be an assassin wearing whiteface clown makeup. And he’s on Hawkeye’s trail.

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a good story with good art, good dialogue, and all the great stuff we expect from this series. I wish we knew if this guy had some sort of codename — it’s going to get very tiring if I have to type that name very often…


Worlds’ Finest #12

The new version of Desaad, an inhuman fanged monster, has shown up, and he’s disguised as Michael “Mr. Terrific” Holt. After the authorities try to arrest Huntress and Power Girl for attacking him, they make their escape, but Karen soon finds her business failing because of financial attacks and more destructive terrorist bombings. Can the heroes keep from losing everything?

Verdict: Thumbs up. A nice ramp-up in the mystery and danger for the heroes. A lot of the publicity about this issue has to deal with getting Power Girl back into her classic “boob window” costume, but it appears almost as an afterthought, which is probably a good way to do it. The new costume was really awful, though, and I hope we don’t see anything like it again.

And let’s take a very quick look at the comics I got for Free Comic Book Day:


World of Archie Digest

Almost 100 pages of Archie comics? Reprints both old and new? Archie takes the prize for the year’s best release for FCBD.


Mouse Guard/Rust

Archaia always puts out great stuff for FCBD — solid stories designed to preview upcoming comics and promote what’s already out there for new readers. Everything here was great fun to read, and the Cow Boy story in the middle even has some fun with the comic’s flip-book format.


Finding Gossamyr/The Stuff of Legend

Loved these a lot. Both are long-running stories, and the FCBD comic was able to both summarize the previous storyarcs and create new mini-stories that were fun to read.


R.I.P.D./True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys/Mass Effect

Ehh. Almost completely forgettable stuff. I’d been considering picking up the Killjoys series, but I’m questioning whether I really care that much about it now.


Marvel Infinity

Beyond forgettable. There were more of this comic than anything else on FCBD. The lead story was depressing and un-fun. The ’70s reprint was depressing and un-fun. The preview from “Endless Wartime” was more entertaining, but it was just a preview. Come on, Marvel — Free Comic Book Day is supposed to bring new readers in, not scare them off.

Comments off

The Only Word Better than “Comics” is “Free”


Hey, kids, it’s Free Comic Book Day!

That means it’s time to head out to your Friendly Local Comic Book Store and see what free stuff you can get!

But I hope that, by now, you know that there are some very important limits to what kind of free stuff you’ll be able to take home, right?

You can’t just get any comic book free. The comics publishers send out their own special Free Comic Book Day comics — and those are the only free comics you’ll be able to get. They might be really awesome comics, and they might be very much less awesome comics. But those are the only ones that are free.

If you think you’re going to get any other comics free, you’re out of luck. You can’t go load up on graphic novels and trade paperbacks and every comic in the New This Week rack and expect to walk out without paying.

So seriously — for the sanity of the folks at the comic shop, for the sake of your own dignity — don’t be the entitled douchebag who goes in and demands all the comics for free. You’ll get the Free Comic Book Day comics for free, so just accept that.

Come to think of it, you probably won’t be able to get all the Free Comic Book Day comics either. Quantities are very limited, so most shops will only let you have two or three comics for free, just so they’ll have some left for anyone who comes in late. So it’s better to go in early to make sure the stuff you want is still available. If you go in late, you might miss out on the best comics. You might even miss out on all of them.

And one more thing — could I ask y’all a favor? When you go in to get your free comics, could you go ahead and buy some other comics as well? See, the comic shops have to pay for all those free comics — a lot of them end up taking a beating sales-wise, just for the opportunity to try to pick up the occasional new customer. A lot of folks show up on Free Comic Book Day, get their free books, then vanish out the door again ’til next year. But y’all are good guys, and you know it’s never a good thing for your local comic book shop when they don’t make a little money.

So just for the sake of niceness — buy a comic book, too. Could be an issue or two of a regular comic. Could be a new trade paperback or graphic novel. Could even be a game or a toy or a shortbox. But buy something, just as a way to let your local shop know that you appreciate them offering the free comics every year.

Thanks much, kids — now go out and nab those free comics!

Comments (2)

Phone Home

Dial H #1

Man, they’re shoehorning this comic into the second wave of the DC Reboot, and it doesn’t belong there at all. This is a Vertigo Comic, born and bred.

Our main character is Nelson Jent, an overweight, depressed guy who’s gunning for an early grave until a bunch of thugs attack his only real friend, Darren. Nelson makes his way into an antique phone booth to call for help — but the help he gets isn’t what he expected. Instead he finds himself transformed into a spindly, indestructible, smoke-belching monstrosity that calls itself Boy Chimney. He routs the bad guys and gets Darren to the hospital before he reverts back to tubby Nelson Jent — and when he finds out that Darren works for the bad guys, and that they’ll keep coming after him, Nelson returns to the phone booth, trying to figure out what triggered his transformation. When he stumbles on the proper sequence, he ends up turning into a mopey goth called Captain Lachrymose, who can trigger traumatic sorrow in others and then becomes energized by their tears. He goes after the criminals targeting his friend — but he’s not the only person in town with weird superpowers…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Fantasy author China Mieville has apparently been wanting to write a comic book for a while, and I don’t know why DC put him off for so long. What he churns out here is grim and deeply bizarre pseudo-superheroics — Boy Chimney may be the scariest thing we’ve seen in any comic in months. And it’s got a great level of characterization, too. Nelson is a really interesting character — his desire to help his friend struggling to overcome his depression. And Mateus Santolouco’s artwork is a great complement for all of this — his jangly, shadow-drenched illustrations work perfectly for what we’ve got going on here. Go pick it up, folks.

The Amazing Spider-Man #685

It’s still Spider-Man, the Black Widow, and Silver Sable against the Sinister Six — and this time, the rest of the world is on the bad guys’ side. After narrowly avoiding getting arrested by S.H.I.E.L.D., the trio contact as many other superheroes as they can (and even a few villains, including the Titanium Man) to help turn the tide against Dr. Octopus. They finally track down Doc Ock’s largest satellite-manufacturing factory — just in time for Octavius to launch them all into orbit. But is Dr. Octopus really the villain this time, or is this going to be his biggest trick ever?

Verdict: Thumbs up. A bit slow-moving, but we are at the mid-point in the series. The best point is definitely the cliffhanger at the end — it hits all the drama, suspense, and action points it needs to keep the story running in high gear.

Oh, and hey, Free Comic Book Day was Saturday, and I got some pretty good stuff. Let’s check it out real quick.

Atomic Robo: Free Comic Book Day 2012

If there’s any serious guarantee on Free Comic Book Day, it’s the guarantee that the Atomic Robo comic is going to be one of the best things offered. And it’s so again! Atomic Robo and the Fighting Night-Shift Accountants of Tesladyne have learned there’s a serious problem with the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland that could cause devastation across the space-time continuum. And he’s brought in a special consultant to help out — Dr. Dinosaur?! But aren’t he and Robo terrible enemies? Isn’t Dr. Dinosaur a lunatic? Isn’t Dr. Dinosaur only kind of a genius and mostly an idiot? Well, yes, but to save the space-time continuum, Robo is willing to work with him.

Except… Ah, curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal! It was all a ruse by Dr. Dinosaur to wreck the Collider using Futuresaurus Rex — an armored T-rex with missile launchers! And guns he carries in his teeny-tiny forelegs! So adorable and badass! But Futuresaurus Rex is just as great a danger to Dr. Dinosaur as he is to everyone else, because Dr. D is an idiot who didn’t design a proper remote control for it! Can Robo and Dr. D really work together to save the day?

On top of that, we’ve got stories from other Red 5 comics like “Neozoic” and “Bonnie Lass.” But listen, we all tuned in for Atomic Robo, and everyone knows it…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Huzzah! Dr. Dinosaur! The greatest character in comic book history!

Mouse Guard and Other Stories: A Free Comic Book Day Hardcover Anthology

Okay, I don’t mind telling you, there’s one thing about this that’s gonna blow your mind: it really is a hardcover book. It’s not a huge book — it’s just 48 pages long, and it’s dimensions are a bit smaller than a standard-sized comic book. But it’s an actual, fer-realz hardcover, and they gave them out for free. Archaia Entertainment just stepped up their game in a way that no other publisher could match, that alone should be enough to make them this year’s Free Comic Book Day champion.

Even better: It’s a really good comic book. We get a story of the Mouse Guard as told through a children’s puppet show. We get a story about the characters from the movie “Labyrinth.” We get a story about the Dapper Men, a hilarious story called “Cursed Pirate Girl: Ramblings from an Old Sea Dog Who Likes to Be Called Alice” which is every bit as mad and surreal as you’d expect, and a story by Nate Cosby and Chris Eliopoulos about the “Cow Boy,” a pint-sized bounty hunter who’s sworn to capture his own outlaw family members. And they’re all great stories. They’re all worth reading and enjoying.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Publishing this as a hardcover is a great way to get attention, but ultimately this is a winner because the stories and art are absolutely worth any gimmicks. This was an outstanding comic, possibly the best Free Comic Book Day comic ever.

Today’s Cool Links:

  • I bet y’all have heard by now that MCA from the Beastie Boys died last week. I say the only real way to commemorate a great musician is to play their music. So here’s the best music video ever.
  • Here’s one of the Beasties’ classic goofy vids from the ’80s.
  • Here’s a more recent fave.
  • And if you got time to watch a 30-minute mini-movie, here’s a bunch of people pretending to be the Beasties.

Comments off

Saturday is Free Comic Book Day!

Free is good, and free comic books are even better. And tomorrow is Free Comic Book Day.

Lubbock’s own Star Comics is once again participating in this year’s FCBD, so you’ll want to stop in on Saturday and pick up your loot.

Now remember “free comics” doesn’t mean “all comics are free.” You can’t walk in and get all your comics for free. The publishers create their own special FCBD comics just to hand out for Free Comic Book Day, and that’s all there is to it. Showing up and demanding a free copy of Action Comics #1 is just going to make you look silly.

This year, Star is giving out prepacks — bags of comics geared different age groups — in this case, adults, teens, and all-ages readers. The free stuff only lasts while supplies last, and since the store opens at 11, you should get there pretty early, or they’ll run out.

They’ll also have balloons, stickers, friendly faces, comics you can pay for (and you should pay for some, because all those FCBD comics actually cost the shops money, so help ’em offset the cash outflow a little. Besides, comics are awesome), and Will Terrell will be on hand, too — he’ll be selling books and prints, doing free sketches when you BUY some comics, and he’ll be doing a cartooning-for-kids demonstration from 2-3 p.m.

So remember — stop by Star Comics, 2014 34th Street in Lubbock, on Saturday, starting at 11 a.m. for Free Comic Book Day!

Comments off

Wild and Free

I had a pretty good haul for Free Comic Book Day on Saturday — I hope you did, too. Here’s what I picked up…

Love and Capes #13

A lot of the comics you get on Free Comic Book Day are there to promote upcoming comics and crossover events, but this isn’t “Love and Capes: The Free Comic Book Day Edition” — this is the actual 13th full issue of “Love and Capes,” not filler, not a backup story, not a snippet, not a pinup book, and Thom Zahler put it out there completely free, which is pretty danged awesome.

In the previous issue of “Love and Capes,” Abby and Mark (better known to the world as the high-flying hero Crusader) got married after a long, whirlwind romance. This issue, they wrap up their honeymoon in Hawaii, get used to married life, work out a way to hide Mark’s wedding ring when he’s on-duty so supervillains don’t realize he’s gotten married, and work through the gossip about their own wedding reception.

Verdict: Thumbs up. “Love and Capes” is an incredibly fun comic, and it was fantastic to get it for free. Heck, I think there’s a pretty good chance that this was the best comic produced for this year’s Free Comic Book Day.

Iron Man: Supernova

This is basically an extra story from the “Marvel Adventures” comics series. Iron Man and Nova get called out after a report that Red Ghost has escaped from prison. His Super-Apes — Mikhlo the superstrong gorilla, Peotr the telekinetic orangutan, and Igor the shapeshifting baboon — are being held at a zoo-like facility, where Igor appears to have reformed — he now loves candy much more than he loves Red Ghost. Well, who can blame him? Red Ghost, however, succeeds in getting Mikhlo and Peotr to break loose. Do Iron Man and Nova have a chance of stopping Red Ghost and his Super-Apes when one of their allies is an ape that loves to goof off and shapeshift?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Very nice story. No, wait — it’s a very nice story that’s crammed full of apes! Igor’s wacky shapeshifting is a lot of fun. Paul Tobin is also the writer on “Marvel Adventures: Super Heroes,” which is already one of my favorites.

Doctor Solar, Man of the Atom/Magnus, Robot Fighter

Dark Horse is bringing these two semi-classic comics back. First, we get Doctor Solar, a scientist transformed into a god during a nuclear accident. Unfortunately, his transformation also created a number of random space-time anomalies, one of which empowers an abusive drunk who’s way more likely than Doctor Solar to beat up people who get in his way. Second, we get Magnus, a man who lives in the year 4000. He’s been trained in a special kind of martial arts that lets him break steel with his bare fists, so he goes out and beats up criminal robots. His allies include a robot called 1A and the wealthy Leeja Clane.

Verdict: Ehh, I’m completely ambivalent. Jim Shooter’s stories seem fine, but both Solar and Magnus have always seemed like characters that don’t make sense when you remove them from the cheesy 1960s comics where they originated. We’ll see if Dark Horse can get ’em to work out.

Artifacts #0

Top Cow’s new crossover is going to focus on bringing together 13 mystical artifacts in an attempt to destroy the world. This issue takes the form of an unseen villain feeding information to a captured Aphrodite IX, a green-haired cyborg assassin, about the Witchblade, the Darkness, the Angelus, and ten other quasi-magical items that keep Top Cow’s superhero universe spinning.

Verdict: Well, it’s free. But other than that, it’s a promo for a crossover that won’t be published ’til July.

Owly: Breakin’ the Ice

Well, they had this on the table, and I’d been looking for an excuse to check out this series… but it turns out this one isn’t from this year’s FCBD comics — it’s from all the way back in 2006! Andy Runton‘s cartoon about a lonely but loving owl is almost completely wordless, making it a great comic for very young readers. In this story, set during a cold winter at the local pond, Owly and his friends Wormy and Scampy try to figure out how to make friends with a flock of migrating geese.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Very, very cute, and outstanding cartooning. I wish I’d realized I hadn’t picked up this year’s free Owly comic, but I’m still glad I got to read this one. Parents, you should definitely consider this series for pre-readers.

Comments off

It's Free Comic Book Day!

Hey, hey, it’s the First of May! Free Comic Book Day starts today! Or words something to that effect…

I’ve been so distracted by work and other duties that I completely forgot how close we were to Free Comic Book Day. How close are we? It’s now! Right now! Everyone panic and run around!

If you live in Lubbock, Star Comics at 2014 34th Street has you covered. They’ve got comics already bagged up and ready to hand out — two different selections, one for all-ages readers, with lots of great kid-friendly comics (but there are lots of great all-ages comics out there, so grownups, don’t be shy about picking that one up), and one for the fanboys (and fangirls), with comics produced by Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, IDW, and others.

If you’re reading this but you’re not from Lubbock — don’t worry, your local comic shop is probably giving out free comics, too. Go check ’em out!

And if you’re not familiar with Free Comic Book Day, don’t worry, it’s easy to participate. Just head out to your friendly neighborhood comic shop (don’t bug grocery stores, convenience stores, or regular bookstores — this is an event just for comic shops), and see what they have available.

Remember, you can’t just pick any comic off the rack and demand to get it for free. You’re not going to get a free copy of Action Comics #1, no matter how much you try to rules-lawyer your way around things. Comics publishers put out special editions of their comics specifically for Free Comic Book Day — usually something promoting some of their other comics or an upcoming comic event. You’ll be able to get the special FCBD comics for free — not the other comics in the store.

Some stores will let you have only one. Some will let you have several. Some will let you pick which comic you get. Some will give you one at random. Some will have other special offers in the store. Some won’t. Ya rolls yer dice, ya takes yer chances.

Whatever you do, get there early. Supplies are limited, and once they’re gone, there ain’t no more left. If you get there just before closing time, you probably won’t get any free comics at all. Get there early so you don’t miss out.

And fer cryin’ out loud, once you get your free comic, take a walk around the store, and see if there are any other comics, games, books, or toys you want to buy. You’ll look like a weirdo if you run in, grab your free comic, then run out like a freak. Be neighborly, people.

Comments off

The Post-Expo Hangover

Well, not a hangover exactly. Alcohol in large enough concentrations is a poison, and there weren’t nothing poisonous about Saturday’s Lubbock Comic Book Expo.

We had at least 2,500 attendees, which was a heck of a lot more than last year. Part of that was because the Lubbock Arts Festival was downstairs, and some folks climbed the stairs to see what was going on. But I’m good with that. A lot of those curiosity-seekers left with a few free comics, thanks to Free Comic Book Day. They enjoyed the presentations we held. They had a blast watching the costume contest. They got to talk to a lot of wonderful artists and vendors, and they picked up a few old comics they remembered from their childhoods, or they got a sketch from someone, or at the very least, they left saying, “That was fun. What a great group of people.”

As far as I’m concerned, this was a huge success. When I left, I was actually in physical pain, and I was so tired, I went to bed at 9 p.m. and slept for about ten hours. But I would do the whole thing over again in a heartbeat.

Here’s a bunch of pictures from the event:

We’re doing it again this November, from the main exhibit hall in the Science Spectrum. Watch for more announcements about the West Texas Comicon as we get closer to fall!

Comments off