CBR's Guide to Free Comic Book Day 2016
Where can you find comics? In Previews, of course! This month: Is it the worst idea ever on the cover of Previews? Could be …
Seriously – a crossover with all the IDW “universes” – G. I. Joe, Star Trek, Transformers, and Ghostbusters – getting invaded by zombies? Sweet fancy Moses.
As you know, I get my Hellboy in Giant-Sized Chunks, so Hellboy: The Sleeping and the Dead (page 28) is not on my order list, but the solicitation is quite odd. It makes a big deal that Mignola is teaming up with Scott Hampton, as if everyone has been clamoring for that collaboration for years and it’s finally happening. Is that true? Have people been clamoring for it? I mean, Hampton’s a good artist, and I’m sure this will be a fun tale, but Mignola HASN’T teamed up with a lot more artists than he HAS, so why is this one special? Next: The long-awaited collaboration between Mike Mignola and Kim Deitch! It’s just weird to make such a big deal about it. (5 January)
I mentioned that Finder had been picked up by Dark Horse, and they’re reprinting the entire series in trade, with the first one showing up on page 46. I also mentioned I wasn’t the biggest fan of Carla Speed McNeil’s sci-fi epic, although the trade she gave me at San Diego this summer (“Dream Sequence”) is actually pretty good. I will say, however, that if you’ve ever been interested in this but haven’t gotten it, this is 616 pages for 25 bucks, and that ain’t a bad deal at all. Plus, it’s all trippy and shit. (16 March)
I just learned what a Gelaskin is (sue me – I don’t care about protecting my phone and I don’t own a Kindle and/or iPad), and I have no interest in them, but the Umbrella Academy one on page 52 is pretty darned cool. (22 December)
At the beginning of the DC section, there’s a letter (read: propaganda) from the co-publishers discussing the price drop. It would make Goebbels happy, I tell you that much. The text begins with the announcement that DC is dropping prices … but, of course, neglects to mention the loss of two pages of story. Throughout, DC uses the “32-page comic” template, ignoring that 32 pages means 22 pages of story, and now it will mean 20 pages of story. Jim Lee, worried about the “long term health” of the industry, says DC is willing to take a “financial risk” so that readers won’t abandon the art form. They listened to fans and retailers who told them that $3.99 for 32 pages was too expensive. “Fans were becomingly increasingly reluctant to sample new titles and long term fans were beginning to abandon titles and characters that they’d collected for years,” says Danny D. He also says they are committed to the $2.99 price … for a few years, of course, until they raise prices to $3.99 and keep the stories at 20 pages.
Phew, that’s quite a letter. It’s bullshit, but it’s quite a letter. DC isn’t losing readers because of price, DC is losing readers because people don’t want to read crappy comics and new readers aren’t coming into the market. As Kelly just showed (as have others, as she pointed out in her first post), many people who don’t read comics would be perfectly happy to do so, but DC (and Marvel, of course) have no interest in trying new things to get their product into new hands. Reverting to a $2.99 price point and cutting two pages of story is not unlike the boy sticking his thumb in the dike. Comics will survive, of course, but not because DC takes this courageous stand.
But hey, I bet they have comics for sale!
I probably won’t buy Weird Worlds #1 (page 67), but it’s not a bad idea. Three stories, 10 pages each (and yet, the solicitation claims this is “40 pages” – what could the other 10 pages be????), six issues. When the trade comes out, I hope they’re all collected separately, so I can get the Kevin Maguire story all by itself! (5 January)
Batman: Europa #1 cracks me up (page 70). DC makes a big deal about it being Jim Lee’s return to Batman, but it’s Giuseppe Camuncoli laying out the pages and Lee painting them. Which sounds neat, but he’s also only doing the first issue of the four-issue mini-series. So while that’s pretty neat, it’s not like it’s Jim Lee being, you know, JIM LEE!!!!! (5 January)
You know what the difference between DC and Marvel is, right now? I direct you to the solicitation for The Flash #10 (page 87). It reads: “The new speedster known as Hot Pursuit has arrived on his Cosmic Motorcycle …” If that’s in a Marvel book written by Jason Aaron or Kieron Gillen or Matt Fraction or Greg Pak/Fred van Lente, it sounds awesome. If it’s in a DC book written by Geoff Johns, I just wonder when he’s A) going to start slaughtering people; or B) get decapitated. Is it just me? (26 January)
One of the problems (or, if you’re Travis, one of the benefits) with these “logo” covers is that you’re really aware of the boobies, because so many of the characters seem to jumping/flying/running/levitating at you:
Wow, on page 103 a full-color Suicide Squad trade gets offered, a while after DC pulled the Showcase volume. This collects issues #1-8 of the series plus Secret Origins #14. I said it when the Showcase volume was offered and I’ll say it again: This is a really good series. Check this out! Only 20 bucks! (9 February)
Wildstorm still has its separate section, but it’s not called Wildstorm anymore. Just in case you were wondering what would change when the imprint went away. I guess what’s changed is that they’re totally committed to adapting every video game they can think of to comics – there’s an Authority trade, Victorian Undead II, and that vampires in Rome book (Ides of Blood) … and six video game books (unless that vampires in Rome book is also somehow tied into a game – I can’t remember). So there you have it!
Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly are back with The New York Five, now under the Vertigo label (page 114). I skipped the first one and I’ll skip this one, but you might like it! (26 January)
Eric Shanower draws Fables #101 (page 115). That’s awfully cool. (19 January)
Jill Thompson has another Little Endless Storybook on page 116 called Delirium’s Party. Delirium throws a party for Despair to cheer her up. Hijinks ensue, presumably. Dang, this will look cool, won’t it? (9 March)
If you waited for the trade of Daytripper, it’s on page 118. Twenty dollars for ten issues – that ain’t bad. I really can’t recommend it enough. (2 February)
Speaking of 20-dollar trades for 10 issues, Human Target: Second Chances, collecting issues #1-10 of the late, lamented series, is offered on page 119. Will DC collect the rest of the series? Only time will tell, as Asia once sang. (16 February)
Oh, wait, it’s FIVE different IDW “universes” converging, as page 138 tells us: The Zombies vs. Robots “universe” invades the other four. On page 139, Chris Ryall, Chief Creative Officer for IDW, talks “Infestation,” and says, “It all started with us thinking ‘you know what would never work? Yeah, let’s find a way to make that work” and building it into what you have here.” Our Dread Lord and Master needs to come up with a term for this sort of thing: Drunken Guys at the Tilted Kilt Idea? (Here, I’ll do the Image Search for you.) Sitting Around Playing Halo and Smoking Bud Idea? Anyway, this is what happens when people who have bad ideas are in a position to put those ideas into practice. It’s not limited to Marvel and DC!!!! But maybe it will be awesome, right?
Fallen Angel returns with a new mini-series on page 143. That’s cool to see. Plus, you can get the second Omnibus, collecting the balance of the IDW series so far. 360 pages for 25 dollars! Quality comics all around!
If I cared, I would find the post that Brian did about Sean Murphy, because he featured some of Off-Road, the comic he wrote and drew. Now IDW is publishing it and slapping a measly $17.99-price tag on it. I remember thinking this looked cool lo those many years ago when Brian showed some pages, so I’ll be all over this like Charlie Sheen on a coked-up hooker.
Who is Jake Ellis? (page 164) sounds neat. It’s about a “spy-for-hire” (how does that work?) named Jon Moore who’s so good because of Jake Ellis, a “psychic man” only Jon can see. So he can get out of all sorts of pickles because Jake is telling him where all the bad guys are. My definition of “awesome” might be different than yours, but that sounds awesome. And it’s written by Nathan Edmondson, who’s pretty good, and drawn by Tonci Zonjic, who’s quite good. Sign me up! (5 January)
Over on page 172, we get Memoir #1, which is written by Ben McCool and drawn by Nikki Cook. Everyone in a small town wakes up one morning and has no idea who they are or what has happened to them. Only one man knows!!!!! What could be going on? Well, I suppose we’ll just have to find out, won’t we? (19 January)
Image decides to reprint every issue of The Walking Dead and have it come out weekly beginning in January. I don’t really have a problem with that, but they’re not dropping the price – each issue is still $2.99. Why would you buy it in this format when you can get it so many other cool formats? Especially if it’s the same price as the originals? It seems quite strange.
I dare not say anything bad about Top Cow, but I’m confused with the solicitation for the Magdalena trade paperback on page 202. “The Magdalena has been the official protector and warrior of the Catholic Church for over two thousand years,” it claims. Um, what? The Catholic Church didn’t exist 2000 years ago. In fact, if you believe in the Bible, Jesus barely existed 2000 years ago – he would have been no older than 16 or so. Does this series take place in the future? It’s weird. (19 January)
The solicitation for Age of X: Alpha #1 (page 1) is puzzling. Apparently, this is the next big mutant event, yet they don’t have an artist yet? What? Second: “Mutantkind’s final war starts here.” So how many “final wars” is this now? I lost count around the 14th. Wake me when this is over.
As always, I hate to agree with Kelly, because she’s such an icky girl, but the cover of Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #152 is a perfect example of what she’s talking about. J. Scott Campbell’s ugly art graces the cover, and of course the Black Cat is falling out of her suit (see it below!). I’m not as bent out of shape about that as Kelly gets – I’m more annoyed that Campbell keeps getting work – but what’s weird is that if you’re an icky girl and you want to read a comic, this would probably be a good one for you – Sara Pichelli, the interior artist, IS a girl, after all, and her art is very good and “girl-friendly.” But then you get that fugly cover and you pass by. People who bitch at Kelly for bringing this up are missing the cognitive dissonance between the cover and the interior art. I don’t like using a different cover artist than the interior artist, but if Marvel and DC are going to do that, it would be nice if they could at least try to match them up better. But I don’t give a crap about this comic anyway, so whatever. (26 January)
I know other people have mentioned the cover of Thunderstrike #3 (page 25), but damn, that’s some awesome hair (5 January):
I’ve been disappointed with Travel Foreman’s new style on interior art, but he’s gotten really good at covers, as Loki #4 (page 26) shows (26 January):
Daredevil: Reborn (page 43): Bwah-ha-ha-ha!!!!! (5 January)
So, I’d really like to get Wolverine and Jubilee (page 58), because I dig me some Jubilee (don’t judge me!). It’s written by Kathryn Immonen and drawn by Phil Noto, so it should be pretty good. Then I read the solicitation and remembered that Jubilee was a vampire. Yuck. Pass. (Although, how cool was it that in that Outsiders one-shot that tied into the Return of Bruce Wayne thing, Mike Barr simply ignored Looker’s vampiric stuff, returning her to her old-school glory? When I write the X-Men – my e-mail is on the site, Joey Q! – I will simply change Jubilee back to normal, non-vampiric and mutantly-powered, and offer absolutely no explanation for it. That’s how it should be done!) (5 January)
As awful as the usual Greg Land covers are, the cover of Uncanny X-Men #532 (page 61) might set a new standard. What’s Emma doing? Stripping? Why? WHY, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT’S HOLY?!?!?!?!? (26 January)
I like how in the solicitation for X-Factor #213 (page 65), the text reads “One member leaves …” as if it’s a big secret, and right above it, the cover shows Darwin walking off. Excellent secret-keeping, Marvel! (5 January)
Casanova begins a new arc on page 68. According to the solicitation, it’s “never” been “understood!” Well, I remember when it came out, and it seemed that plenty of people understood it, including dumb old me. It’s a bit complicated, but it’s not like learning Finnish or anything.
Seeing the two covers of the Avengers hardcover and the New Avengers hardcover (pages 85 and 86) cracks me up:
I suppose that’s planned, because if it’s not, that’s some lazy placement of Wolverine. At least Romita tries to hide Spider-Man on the first one so that it’s not that obviously dumb that he’s on both teams. (26 and 12 January)
On page 101, you can order the fourth volume of Joe Kelly’s Deadpool. Interestingly enough, I haven’t really been to impressed with this series, even though most people say it’s the only time Deadpool has been good. (19 January)
Push your fear down as we venture into the back of the book! It’s okay!
There are a couple of interesting things from SLG on page 212. In the Young Adult category, we have Pepper Penwell and the Land Creature of Monster Lake, in which a teenaged detective solves a mystery, and then we have Strongman volume 2: Oaxaca Tapout by Charles Soule and Allen Gladfelter. I thought volume 1 wasn’t bad, and Gladfelter is an artist who deserves more attention, so this might be something you want to check out. Or maybe not. That’s what freedom is all about!!!!
Oh, Antarctic Press (page 216) … you always make me chuckle, don’t you:
Page 239 has the first trade of Dracula: The Company of Monsters from Boom! Boom! always offers these trades before the arcs are complete, so I can’t completely recommend this (there’s still one issue left), but it’s not bad so far.
I began reprinting the solicitation text from each issue of Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose (page 244) because they were so goofy, but this month’s isn’t too impressive: “A thunder god falls to earth. A trickster god demands that Raven Hex be his mistress. Salem is cut off from the rest of the world. Tarot and her mother are imprisoned. A lone Graveyard Guardian with a legendary hammer in his hands sets off on a fatal quest to take on a God.” It doesn’t sound too wacky, but according to Chris Sims, who has inexplicably read more issues of Tarot than is probably healthy, the “Graveyard Guardian,” a.k.a. The Skeleton Man, is the worst hero in history, so this might have potential.
The Boys reaches issue #50 on page 250. That’s pretty impressive, especially when you consider its dicey beginnings at DC.
Also from Dynamite on page 251, a new Sherlock Holmes mini-series appears … and it’s a “Year One” thing. That might be interesting.
I can earn my “I Hate Man Comics” badge, because the first thing I thought of when I saw the cover of Kevin Smith’s Kato #10 (yes, that’s the actual title) on page 254 is WWKT – What Would Kelly Think? She’d probably go blind with rage, but I just wondered – would the male Kato ever be featured on a cover in exactly the same pose with exactly the same injuries? I doubt it.
The Lone Ranger #25 (page 256) finishes the series. I just re-read most of the issues, and it’s very cool to read them all at once, because it really does feel like a classic Sergio Leone Western. I’ll miss it.
Drawn & Quarterly has Scenes from an Impending Marriage by Adrian Tomine on page 260. The only thing I’ve ever read by Tomine is Shortcomings, which was technically good but fairly unpleasant. According to the solicitation, this has a far different tone, so I’ll probably check it out.
Nick Bertozzi has a new book from First Second called Lewis & Clark, which is, shockingly enough, about Lewis and Clark. I know – wild! Bertozzi is always worth a look, so I’ll have to see what’s what with this.
Moonstone continues to overturn rocks from the 1930s and find pulp heroes underneath that they can turn into comics! On page 277, we get The Spider #1, which might be pretty cool. It appears there’s a back-up story starring Operator 5, about whom I’ve been interested since reading Jess Nevins’ essay about him in the back of Incognito a while ago.
Olympian Publishing has a couple of fascinating projects on page 278 that I hope are good. Cursed Pirate Girl gets a collected edition, and I absolutely love Jeremy Bastian’s art, so I’m keen to check this out even though it’s a bit spendy (20 dollars for 112 pages). Then, below that, we get Michael Zulli’s The Fracture of the Universal Boy (subtitled “A Symbolist Manifesto”). It’s a semi-autobiographical story twenty years in the making, and I’m really looking forward to seeing it.
On page 280, Oni Press offers Ghost Projekt in hardcover for 20 bucks, which isn’t a bad deal. The final issue has yet to come out, so I’m not sure how it will end, but so far, it’s really good.
Villard Books has a nifty project on page 298: Vietnamerica: A Family’s Journey by GB Tran. Tran is a very good creator and a hell of a nice guy, and this story about his trip to Vietnam to find out about his past sounds pretty neat.
J. Scott Campbell really likes this pose:
In the book/magazine section, Back Issue #46 has “The Greatest Stories Never Told,” a bunch of articles about comics that were never published. I always like shit like that.
I guess that’s a good place to finish this journey through Previews. Get pre-ordering, people! Don’t count on your local shoppe to get it for you!
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