CBR's Guide to Free Comic Book Day 2016
Previews #296 is out in the world, and I’m going to look through it! What will I find? NO MAN CAN SAY!!!!
Dark Horse continues to bring back their superhero properties, as they let Joe Casey run free through their catalog in Catalyst Comix #1 (page 42). Casey was telling me about this last year, and he seems to be enjoying the opportunity to go a bit nuts – not that he doesn’t take that opportunity in every comic he writes, but still – he’s enjoying yet another opportunity to go nuts! Plus, the art is by Dan McDaid, Ulises Farinas, and Paul Maybury, so the mini-series will look cool. (3 July)
David Lapham “writes and draws a gory all-ages story” in the pages of Dark Horse Presents #26 (page 48). Isn’t that nice? You know, for the kids. (24 July)
Over on page 52, Smoke/Ashes gets offered in a fancy hardcover and a much less spendy softcover. Smoke is the tremendous mini-series from several years ago by Alex de Campi and Igor Kordey, while Ashes is the sequel that turned into a Kickstarter clusterfuck that de Campi managed to salvage. Smoke is very good, so the fact that de Campi managed to pull together some great artists for the sequel makes me very interested in this sucker. The book is 424 pages long, and the softcover is only 30 bucks. Heck, the hardcover is a pretty good deal for 60 bucks, so I might even splurge for that! (18 September)
Meanwhile, on page 57, Dark Horse has some very cool-looking comics. The Best of Milligan & McCarthy is 264 pages fro 25 bucks and contains 20 years of Peter Milligan and Brendan McCarthy comics, and you know I’ll be getting that sucker! I still haven’t read Rogan Gosh, so the fact that this contains that AND a bunch of other stuff makes it a no-brainer. Meanwhile, next to it we get Cameron Stewart’s webcomic Sin Titulo, which always seemed neat whenever I took a look at it. It’s only 20 bucks for 184 pages. Awesome comics ahoy! (11 and 25 September)
I’m not entirely sure I’m going to get Star Wars volume 1, the Brian Wood/Carlos D’Anda joint, but the trade is offered on page 69. As much as I like Wood’s writing, I’m not sure if I’m really that keen on him writing this. (18 September)
Damn, Jae Lee, that’s a great cover (page 90; 3 July):
Everyone’s favorite drunk cover commentator, Kelly Thompson, made some points about the cover of Aquaman #22 (page 92), but I’m going to chime in too and say What the hell? Can’t Aquaman breathe underwater? I mean, the ice doesn’t go all the way to the bottom, does it? And the ice is already cracked, so can’t he just push his way through? Isn’t he really strong? Man, Aquaman is so fucking lame!!!!!! (24 July)
I HATE HATE HATE HATE the idea of “Director’s Cuts” for comics, but at least the solicitation for Superman Unchained Director’s Cut #1 (page 101) gives us some weird stuff happening around Superman’s junk:
Seriously, double-u tee eff? (24 July)
Damn, Mahmud Asrar, that’s a great cover (page 104; 17 July):
I’m actually somewhat impressed that DC is actually ending Batman, Incorporated (page 108). The idea was more of an “Old, Halfway Decent DCU” one than a “New, What the Fuck Is Happening? DCU,” but usually DC and Marvel cling to titles – at least titles with certain characters’ names in them – like grim death, so letting this book go is actually kind of cool. (24 July)
So DC just straight up spoils a major event in the life of Buddy Baker in the solicits of Animal Man Annual #2 (page 121)? Really, DC? Way to be dicks. (31 July)
I might have to note every month when Dial H is solicited (page 124), just because I can’t believe it’s up to issue #14. Well done, Dial H! (3 July)
Batman ’66 shows up on page 128, and it’s such a brilliant idea with such a good creative team (Jeff Parker and Jonathan Case) that I can only imagine that it was approved after one of DiDio’s famous “Paint the Taint” nights and he was in a mellow mood when Parker pitched it to him (trust me, the less you know about those events, the better …). Man, I cannot wait for this comic book. (31 July)
Wow, DC finally solicits a softcover trade of The Flash (page 136). So this will come out 15 months after the last issue included in the collection shipped. Well done, DC, well done. (14 August)
I might have to get Green Lantern: Sector 2814, the trade on page 139. These stories seem to be held in some regard, and who doesn’t love John Stewart and his Afro? Commies, that’s who. (21 August)
Meanwhile, also on page 139, we get the second volume of Legends of the Dark Knight: Jim Aparo. I’m not sure why some of the art isn’t by Aparo, as The Brave and the Bold wasn’t given to long arcs, was it? Either way, I loved the first volume of this, so I’ll be getting the second one! (4 September)
DC continues to release old trade paperbacks (and even newer ones) with great price points: On page 149, we get Hellblazer: Bloodlines (a new edition), which collects issues #47-61 of the series, all for 20 dollars. These are good comics, although they’re a bit more interesting because of who Garth Ennis became than for what they are. But still, that’s a fine bargain. (28 August)
Rocketeer: Hollywood Horror gets a trade on page 162. This, like the other Rocketeer stuff from IDW, has been a solid series. It’s not great, but it’s solid entertainment.
Speaking of the Rocketeer, on page 163 we get Rocketeer/The Spirit: Pulp Fiction by Mark Waid and Paul Smith. That should be awesome.
So IDW is reprinting Judge Dredd stories from the beginning, with new colors (page 171)? Interesting. I mean, you can just read any random Judge Dredd story because they’re all pretty much the same, but that’s still an interesting idea.
The second Mars Attacks trade is offered on page 183. This has been a very fun and very bloody comic, so check this out!
On the one hand, Satellite Sam (page 192) sounds pretty keen – Matt Fraction writing a 1950s murder mystery set in the “golden age of television” (which, I should point out, we’re living through right now, but whatevs). But Howard Chaykin is drawing it, which could be superb but could also be a disaster, based on some of the work Chaykin has been cranking out recently (as in, the past 20 years). It’s in black and white, though, and Chaykin might be more committed to it because it’s not a shitty paycheck job, and the preview pages look pretty cool … I’m torn! I’ll probably pick up the first issue, but I’m wary. (3 July)
Elephantmen reaches 50 issues on page 202. I don’t have much else to say about this, just that it’s pretty impressive. (17 July)
Volume 3 of The Manhattan Projects is solicited on page 203. It claims to be out on 24 July, but I would take that with a grain of salt, as the first issue in the trade, #11, came out this week. So … yeah. (“24 July”)
Wow, there’s a new trade of Age of Bronze offered on page 206. That’s excellent news. I feel a bit bad about getting this in trade, but I was late to the party, and I figure it’s better than nothing. I really hope Shanower can finish this before the sun goes nova. (10 July)
You can get the second trade of Glory on page 208, because it’s totes worth it. I, of course, bought the single issues, and now I’m waiting for the inevitable giant Omnibus collection, but for 15 bucks, this trade is pretty good value. (10 July)
Kafka gets a hardcover volume in color on page 209. Man, it’s been a while since I read this. I should dig it out and check it out. It’s pretty good, I know that much. I mean, it’s Steven Seagle and Stefano Gaudiano, so duh, but I don’t remember much else about it except that I liked it. THAT’S WHY YOU COME TO ME, FOR THE HARD-HITTING INFO!!!! (10 July)
Marvel knows that readers tend to be on their side more than DC’s these days (at least on-line), so they can basically tell fans to fuck right off on pages 4-5 of Marvel Previews, which offers … two basically blank pages. The Guardians of the Galaxy solicit, in which Marvelman will make his triumphant re-appearance in the Marvel Universe, simply lists the creators: “Bendis. Gaiman. Pichelli.” Okay, it has a brief synopsis at the bottom, but it’s kind of generic and GOD FORBID we see the cover. Then, Age of Ultron #10 U.C. (seriously, Marvel?) doesn’t even give us a creative team, and the black page has a fuzzy word in the center: “Hunger.” Presumably it has something to do with Galactus, but, I mean, who fucking cares? But Marvel can get away with this shit because they’ve done a much better job at reaching out to the fan base, so we’re just salivating for it. Well done, Marvel!
(Cool your jets, by the way – I don’t have any insider knowledge. I just can’t believe Marvel is making such a big fucking deal about Angela. ANGELA, for fuck’s sake. It has to be a bait-and-switch. HAS TO BE!)
The cover of Avengers #15 (page 12): BWAH-HA-HA-HA!!!!!
The solicit for Young Avengers #8 (page 20) makes me chuckle: “Kieron decides it’s time to make all the JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY readers scream.” If he kills Loki, I will LAUGH AND LAUGH AND LAUGH.
Man, Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber working on Superior Foes of Spider-Man (page 26). That’s tempting … for the four issues or so that Lieber can draw it until Marvel starts double-shipping it. DAMN IT, MARVEL, KNOCK IT THE FUCK OFF WITH THE DOUBLE-SHIPPING!!!! I’m still hoping this is just a springboard for Lieber’s triumphant return to Hawkman, but I’m not holding my breath.
Marvel really wants us to know that Venom has set up shop in Philadelphia – in the solicits for (sigh) Venom #37 and 38 (page 32), they mention Philadelphia thrice. Look, I know Philadelphians have a bad reputation as sports fans (a ridiculously outdated and unwarranted one, but still), but Jeebus, Marvel, you don’t have to pander that much!
I assume the cover and solicit for Fantastic Four #10 (“Ben Franklin was a Skrull!”) is a lie (page 44), because shouldn’t someone at Marvel have pointed out that the ghost of Ben Franklin is currently a supporting cast member of Deadpool? I mean, they might not care about current continuity (have we found out when Captain America is occurring in relation to the other books in which Cap appears?), but this is very important, damn it! Couldn’t Fraction have used Elbridge Gerry instead of Franklin? That guy was always shifty.
Marvel begins to roll out the Fantastic Four Omnibus editions of Jonathan Hickman’s run on page 79, with a giant collection that contains Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #1-5, Fantastic Four #570-588, and FF #1-5. It’s $75, but that’s 29 issues (plus some other “material”), so that’s not bad. You’ll recall that I bought some of these issues but thought it was moving way too danged slowly, so I figured I’d wait for this to appear. And lo, here it is!
Dr. Strange & Dr. Doom: Triumph & Torment gets a new trade paperback edition on page 106, and I’m pretty keen to get it. It includes the graphic novel plus a bunch of random Dr. Strange stories to pad it out a bit, but it’s only 17 bucks, and while I can probably find a beat-up copy of the original graphic novel for a couple of bucks, I’m willing to pay for a nice version.
Walt Simonson’s Thor gets new trade paperback editions, beginning with volume 1 on page 107. It features the recolored artwork, which I haven’t seen enough of to judge. Still, great comics here!
Dang, Fallen Angels gets a trade on page 108? Really? The world clamors for strange things sometimes. Of course, I might have to get this, but it’s not like I was clamoring for it!
All righty-o, let’s head on into the back of the book! It’s fun!
Action Lab has some interesting books on page 240. Two books that I probably won’t get are Molly Danger by Jamal Igle and Princeless volume 2. I wasn’t that taken with the first volume of Princeless, and Molly Danger doesn’t really sound like my thing. But if you’re interested in checking them out, there they are!
I don’t know if Cyborg 009 from Archaia (page 250) is any good, but Marcus To is drawing it, so it will look really nice!
Speaking of Archaia, the fourth volume of Gunnerkrigg Court is offered on page 252. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Gunnerkrigg Court. Does that make me a 15-year-old girl? Guess what? I don’t care!
There’s a big splashy page touting the 15th anniversary of the creation of Fathom on page 262 as well as the 10th anniversary of Aspen Comics. I don’t mean this to sound snarky, but has anyone reading this ever read an Aspen comic? The only one I think has ever even remotely appealed to me is Dead Man’s Run, but I figured I’d pick up a trade of that if I heard good things about it. And now it seems to have disappeared. So, what’s the word on Aspen? I have read so very little about any of their comics, so I just don’t know what’s what with them.
On page 274, Asylum Press offers Fearless Dawn In Outer Space. If you haven’t checked out Steve Mannion’s insane tribute to 1950s cheesecake comics yet, this is a one-shot, so here’s your chance to see it. I reviewed this a year ago, by the way, but I wonder if Mannion has changed anything since then.
Boom! has Planet of the Apes: Spectacular #1 on page 283, which I assume is the only issue we’re going to see (even though it’s labeled “#1″), as it presumably allows Daryl Gregory to finish up his very strong 16-issue series about the disintegration of ape/human relations. It’s kind of annoying that they couldn’t just let him do four more issues and give us a nice, 20-issue series, but oh well.
Brian Stelfreeze is drawing Day Men on page 284. It’s a vampire conspiracy comic, so I don’t have a lot of interest, but it’s pretty cool that Stelfreeze is drawing interiors, for as long as that lasts.
I recently read Damned by Steven Grant and Mike Zeck, and now Boom! offers a new printing on page 289. Handy, that. This is actually a pretty good noir story, which isn’t surprising as it’s Grant, and Zeck’s art is rougher than it was during his 1980s heyday, which makes it look even better, in my humble opinion.
Dynamite launches a new Red Sonja with Gail Simone writing on page 296. Yes, I know we’ve heard about this for a while, but now it’s official! I don’t know much about the artist, Walter Geovani (who drew Prophecy and Witchblade, so it’s not surprising I don’t know much about him), but Stephanie Buscema does a variant cover, and I would pay many moneys to see Stephanie Buscema as the regular artist on this book. Because, yes, I’m weird.
On page 322, First Second has some nice-looking books. They have a quasi-teaser of Battling Boy by Paul Pope, The Death of Haggard West, which seems like it’s just there to whet our whistles for the full book (and if your whistle isn’t whetted for a new Paul Pope comic, that’s too bad, because he’s awesome). They also have Genius by Steven Seagle and Teddy Kristiansen, a book I’ve been anticipating for, I think, two years now (maybe three?). I’m sure it will be awesome. Finally, we get Templar, which is about ex-Templars who turn to thievery to regain the lost treasure of their order. The first book of the planned trilogy, Solomon’s Thieves, was pretty good, and I wondered what happened to the rest of it. Now, First Second is releasing all three books in one handy volume!
The offerings from Humanoids always make me blanch a bit because of the prices (80 bucks for a 60-page volume of The Incal????), but they usually have pretty good comics. On page 324 they have Bad Break, which is about several people trying to figure out how a dead sailor can lead them to untold riches! I’m sure one of our awesome European readers can tell me more about this, but it sounds pretty keen.
I probably won’t get this, but on page 328 Papercutz has Classics Illustrated: The Secret Agent with art by John K. Snyder. This is a gripping novel, and Snyder’s art, I think, would work very well in it. I imagine this isn’t new; has anyone seen it before?
A company called New Paradigm Studios in on page 330 with Watson and Holmes, yet another take on Sherlock Holmes. This imagines them as black dudes living in Harlem, with Watson an Iraqi war vet. It sounds fairly decent, and then when you consider that Rick Leonardi is drawing it, it becomes more intriguing still. (I see that the company has already released some of these digitally. That’s cool. I wonder if anyone has read them?)
Stumptown gets a second hardcover volume on page 331 from Oni Press. Much like the last one, 30 bucks is a bit steep for the series, but the hardcover should be really nice-looking, as the first one is. Plus, Southworth will draw a nice sketch in yours if you hand it to him! (4 September)
There’s a third “Apocalyptic Edition” of Wasteland on page 335. This is a pretty good value, actually – it’s 14 issues for 35 bucks, and it’s a nice hardcover with the back-up text pieces in them. It’s a bit uneven, story-wise, as this was when Johnston was having some problems finding a replacement for Mitten, but the scheduling issues won’t be a problem with this! (25 September)
Titan Books offers Alien: The Illustrated Story Artists Edition on page 343. When I reviewed the new printing of this a few months ago, some commenters mentioned how absolutely stunning the Artists Edition was, and here it is! It’s $75, which is a bit much, but it’s a 14 x 17 hardcover with the original, unadorned pencil work. So, yeah.
Meanwhile, Titan Comics (sigh) has the A1 Annual on page 343. It’s a ton of new stuff from lots of cool creators, including, according to them, Steranko. That might be interesting …
Inexplicably, Super Spy has been out of print for a while, so Top Shelf is bringing it back on page 346. This is one of the best graphic novels of the past decade or so, so you owe it to yourself to check it out!
I know that some people are excited about the new Quantum and Woody from Valiant (page 354), and I’ll probably get the trade (although Tom Fowler’s art looks a bit tame in the preview pages), but I do wonder why they didn’t get Priest and Bright to do it. Both men are still very much alive, and I know Priest, at least, has mentioned he would like to write the characters again. Did Valiant ask them? Valiant CEO and Chief Creative Officer Dinesh Shamdasani gave a politician’s mealy-mouthed response when Steve Sunu asked him, and, of course, Kevin Maguire spoke his mind about the Acclaim contracts he and Priest/Bright signed, but I haven’t seen anything from those creators about this.
On that slightly down note, let’s end our trip through this month’s Previews. As always, I encourage you to travel deep into the bowels of the catalog, because you just might find something awesome! Until next time!
Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.