Free Comic Book Day, held the first Saturday in May every year, is designed to attract new readers to the wonderful world of comics by giving them some…for free! For the rest of us geeks, its a great chance to get some exclusive titles that usually aren’t available outside the promo day.
The FCBD has the titles and descriptions of all 53 of the free titles available this weekend, but even the most dedicated fan can’t grab them all. Our local retailer, for example, is giving all customers a copy of DC’s Superman: Last Son of Krypton Special Edition and Marvel’s Infinity, along with our choice of 2 other comics. Bring a friend (or a group of them) to maximise your options. So where should you be focusing your attention?
First there was Thanos Quest and Infinity Gauntlet, then Infinity War, Infinity Crusade, and now it’s just Infinity. Marvel are structuring their year around their Cosmic Universe in 2013, and the start of the “next big thing” starts here. Already teased back in March, this is the first look we’ll get at the next big event in the stars. Written by Jonathan Hickman, with art from Jim Cheung, Jerome Opena and Dustin Weaver, it’s a lead-in to the 6-issue mini-series that will launch in August. For the FCBD issue, the press reads: “In this all-new story by the blockbuster creative team of Jonathan Hickman and Jim Cheung, witness the opening shots of the war that will be heard around the galaxy. Plus, relive Thanos’ first solo story which has never been reprinted till now!” Thanos has been all the rage since the end of the film of The Avengers, and we have a sneaking suspicion we’ll be seeing him on the big screen again. Also: anything has to be better than Thanos Rising, the comic that had a gaggle of teenage girls arguing over whether or not they wanted to kiss an emo Thanos.
The Walking Dead (Image Comics)
A great example of how comics have crossed over into the mainstream through the power of television, this special issue “contains a new Tyrese short story, who made his television debut in The Walking Dead Season 3! It also reprints short stories featuring Michonne, The Governor and Morgan. This special issue is a must-have for Walking Dead fans–none of these stories will be reprinted in the trade paperbacks!” While the main comic has been treading water for quite some time now, Deadites will no doubt jump at the chance to own something that won’t be reissued elsewhere, while logging onto the comments section below to blast us for referring to them as Deadites. Walkers? No, that’s the thing that’s trying to eat the humans. Walkies? Or is that something you take your dog for? Anyways, for the people who don’t already read the comic and perhaps don’t take any exception to anything we’ve said, this might be a good jumping on point. After all, the fourth season of the popular TV show is really only a few months away, so that’s plenty of time to catch up with the rising death toll of this long-running book.
Mouse Guard/Rust Flip Book (Archaia)
Archaia’s Mouse Card freebie is always a lavish affair, and this year’s square flip book looks to be no exception. Promising “original short stories from some of its all-ages-friendly titles”, it will include David Peterson’s Mouse Guard short, along with a short from Royden Lepp’s Rust, telling of how rocket-boy Jet Jones learns an important lesson while helping the younger members of the Taylor family with their daily chores on the farm. It’s also said to include: a preview of Sean Rubin’s upcoming dinosaur tale, Bolivar; Jim Henson’s Labyrinth; and Nate Cosby and Chris Eliopoulos’ “justice-seekin’ boy hero”, Cow Boy. As an added bonus, there’s also some fun activity pages by Yehudi Mercado! A great example of how a free comic book for all ages doesn’t have to be flimsy or simple a great big advertisement for the next great crossover event.
Mass Effect/R.I.P.D/Killjoys (Dark Horse)
One of several Dark Horse offerings this year, this is another one that should attract the interest of non-comics fans for a number of reasons. First of all, gamers like their games, and they also like stuff that goes with those games. Mass Effect is a game that gamers game on, and that game is somewhat popular. In this story, you can “follow a flight-school grad as he breaks the rules to prove himself in space”. One of the highly anticipated titles of the year is also True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, from Shaun Simon, Becky Cloonan, and Gerard Way. For those of you who don’t recognise the name, the last chap on this list is the frontman from My Chemical Romance. He’s not just an emo face, as he’s also the writer behind Dark Horse’s The Umbrella Academy and the Eisner nominated Apocalypse Suite. Colour us surprised. This free comic gives us our first look at Killjoys, which is due out in June, and features the fabulous art of Becky Cloonan. Finally, a séance goes terribly wrong in the R.I.P.D short. If you’ve been paying attention, this is about to be a major film directed by Robert Schwentke, and starring Ryan “In Blackest Day” Reynolds, Kevin Bacon, Jeff Bridges and Mary-Louise Parker. It kind of looks like a giant rip-off of Men In Black, but we’re happy to be proven wrong when the film hits Australian shores in September.
2000 AD Special (2000 AD)
British publisher 2000 AD releases the UK’s award-winning weekly SF anthology comic as a 48-page bumper special this Free Comic Book Day. First of all, there’s a new Judge Dredd story. This should surely be enough to attract at least a few readers to this free book. The Jimps Club is a story about a club of Judge impersonators compete against each other to see who can last the longest on the harsh streets of the ‘Big Meg’. They’ve got being a Judge down to a fine art, nailed the mannerisms and the stance, but all it takes is one mistake for Dredd to spot an imposter. The issue also promises the return of Zombo in the all-new Planetronix: Mohawk Of Menace! If that’s not enough, there’s also a bunch of stuff from The Visible Man, Indigo Prime and DR & Quinch. 2000AD fans really have no other option than to grab this book with extreme prejudice. The good kind, not the bad kind of prejudice.
Other Stuff You Might Also Want to Check Out:
- Superman: Last Son of Krypton Special Edition (DC Comics) – We mentioned this up top, and with all the buzz around the forthcoming Man of Steel film, this first chapter from Superman: Last Son of Krypton might get people even moister. Written by Richard Donner and Geoff Johns and illustrated by Adam Kubert, it features Superman’s epic battle with General Zod and the Phantom Zone villains. Plus it’s your first look at Scott Snyder and Jim Lee’s new series Superman: Unchained.
- World of Archie Digest (Archie Comics) – Archie Comics are offering more pages than any other publisher in this 96-page, full-colour digest offering. Wow!
- Ugly Doll Comics (Viz Kids) – There might be many reasons to pick up this book for younger audiences, but we only need two: Hello Kitty and Pokemon.
- The Strangers (Oni Press) – Oni Press is giving away the first issue of this new series. The last time they did something like this was Sixth Gun, and that’s now kind of hard to come by. If you’re a fan, grab. If you’re a speculator, also grab.
- Damsels: Mermaids #0 (Dynamite) – The series might be a bit of a Fables knock-off (but then again, they aren’t alone), but this all-ages grab might be one to get mermaid loving boys and girls into comics.
- Scratch 9 (Hermes Press) – This Eisner Award nominated all-ages comic book featuring a cat with the ability to summon any of his 9 lives to aid him in his adventures. This FCBD version reprints issue #1, along with some “surprises” for fans.
- Marble Season (Drawn and Quarterly) – This one is quite cool. It’s from Love & Rockets creator Gilbert Hernandez, and promises to be an all-ages introduction to their tent-pole release this year.
Get all the official news for FCBD at their official site.
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