Free Comic Book Day 2012

So, last Saturday was Free Comic Book Day. I managed to get four comics from my local store, plus an additional two from comixology. Here’s what I thought about them:

Ultimate Spider-Man Premiere Comic

This is the first episode of Ultimate Spider-Man, with still images from the episode as artwork. This may be the most lazy comic I’ve ever seen, since all it required was a lot of copy and pasting to make it. Anyway, I’ve yet not seen the show, and aside from a few nice in jokes (like having Stan Lee show up as a janitor and reference Irving Forbush) this is just…decent. It’s not great, but there were a few funny moments. I’m displeased, however, at the fact that Danny Rand is a seventeen year old CEO in this series. What the fuck is with that?

My Favorite Martian

This is a baffling comic. This is a comic from Hermes Press, which reprints a bunch of old books from the 1960s and 1970s, as well as pulp books from earlier times. Free Comic Book Day is about advertising for the companies and their properties, and frankly, no one actually cares about My Favorite [sic] Martian. However, there is one property that Hermes Press actually has published that’s actually timely. It’s even advertised at the end of this book! They’ve reprinted Gold Key’s Dark Shadows comic, and there’s a Dark Shadows film coming out next week. Given the relevance of it, an issue of that series would make a much better choice.

As for the comic itself, it’s also confusing. The first page is a blurb about the series which makes it sound like Uncle Martin (who is apparently someone’s favourite martian) enjoys it on Earth, yet the comic’s story is about him desperately trying to get back to Mars. I also felt uneasy reading parts of it. See, I knew nothing of the characters, and assumed that it was one big family and that only Tim knew Martin’s secret…then the teenage girl started trying to woo Tim. I looked it up and found out that Tim isn’t related to the girl or her mother, but still, a page detailing who other characters aside from the Martian are would be nice. The actual comic was funny in an Archie comics sort of way, but I’m not going to buy an issue of this for more than “free”.

Spider-Man: Season One

This one’s a preview of a graphic novel of the same name. Like the previous Marvel Season One graphic novels (Fantastic Four, X-Men and DareDevil) it is retelling the origin story. You know, the Spider-Man origin story that’s been told in all of the 6 or so animated series, a few video games, two of the live action movies (the first and third ones, and possibly again in the upcoming Amazing Spider-Man) and in approximately seventy squintillion comics, either as a miniseries or a recap or something. What I’m saying is, we don’t need another comic telling Spider-Man’s origin. We especially don’t need one that doesn’t really change anything. The free excerpt does make Crusher Hogan an MMA fighter rather than a pro wrestler, which is a nice touch, even though he’s clearly fighting in pro wrestling tights, using a pro-wrestling move (the clothesline) and in a pro wrestling ring, but otherwise this is a competent version of a story I’ve heard far more times than is necessary.

Image 20

This is a six part sampler meant to kick off Image comics’ twentieth anniversary. I’ll look at each part in order. G-Man is a funny comic about a superhero named G-Man who’s coming back, apparently, and is using a wizard to get the team back together. It looks like a laugh riot, though I’m mildly concerned about continuity lockout. Thankfully, some of it is available legally and for free on Chris Giarrusso’s website. The second sample, Guarding the Globe, is about a superhero team that defends the planet from all threats and is about to face its greatest challzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…yeah, I’m not looking into this series any further when it does come out, even if Robert Kirkman DID create the characters. Of course, if I read Invincible, I might care about them, but as such…no. Next, we have a short story from Crime and Terror called “Damn Kids”. Honestly, if it wasn’t for the overly-stylized (read: intentionally awful) artwork, I’d probably be interested in the series. As it is, I’m passing on it. The next sample, however, is gorgeous in all possible ways. Revival is an upcoming series about the dead coming back to life, and they’re every bit as confused about it as we are. This short teaser got me quite interested, and I really hope to give Image my money for this come July. It-Girl and the Atomics is another new series, though it’s based on pre-existing continuity. It seems very mildly interesting, and that’s really all I can say about it. The last one, Near Death, is about a mob hit man whose near death experience caused him quite crime to start working in witness protection, or so I gather. I like the premise, or at least I like my interpretation of it, enough to maybe buy an issue or two.

So, of the six series advertised in this sampler, I will start buying one when it comes out, and I may buy three others, maybe.

Bad Medicine

This one from Oni Press is the first of two FCBD comics I downloaded off comixology. The FCBD comics I didn’t get from comixology were either ones I already had in hard copy or were clearly aimed at small children. This is issue one of a series that’s into its third issue, and I am really digging the premise. Yes, it does fly in the face of actual science to try to pretend that “mind over matter” can make you invisible, but god damn it, I’m feeling this book. The only thing aside from the minor assault on my skeptical mind that I didn’t like is the annoying comic relief character from the CDC, who hopefully dies horribly very soon. There’s also a back-up Wasteland story, and I’ll be honest, I wasn’t into Wasteland when I read volume 1, I’m not into it now either. But I’m into the rest of it, for sure.

Asylum Press Sampler

I downloaded this off comixology, too. This is a sampler of four horror comics. This is an example of how not to do samplers. Trench Coats, Cigarettes and Shotguns was pretty cool, though the artwork is spotty at times. There’s a Silent Hill feel, except with more gore, and I’m down with that. Farmhouse seems like it could be good, but I’m not sure what’s supposed to be scary here. Is it just because it’s set in a mental institution full of crazy artists? Help me out, here. It also breaks the first rule of sample comics: you must either tell a full, short story or end on some sort of cliffhanger, something that will make the reader want to obtain the book in order to read the rest of the story. This does neither. Nor does Chopper, the next sample, which is about a chick who does some drug that makes her see dead people. As cool as it seems, it ends just before anything worthwhile happens, yet right at a point where things are kind of boring. The last one, Black Powder, is apparently about a psychopathic frontiersman pirate who kidnapped a wealthy woman in a plot for revenge. Almost literally every word spoken is “as you know…” style exposition, which is enough to take me from “interested based on the premise and excellent artwork” to “disinterested due to the shitty writing”. If this is the best Asylum Press has to offer, I’m genuinely afraid for their future.

So, all in all, an above average haul. Some of it intrigued me, especially Revival from the Image sampler and Bad Medicine. Some of it did not. However, I can’t complain too much, since I didn’t actually pay anything for it. Either way, I don’t actually know how to end this article. I am fairly sure I had a snappy ending before WordPress deleted all the words because it didn’t like the pictures I posted here, but now we’ll never know. Ah well, live and learn.

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