Free Comic Book Day 2012: Reviews!

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Once again, I collected (almost) all of the Free Comic Book Day offerings, and offer my reviews on what’s good, what’s great, and what should have been better!

Titles are arranged alphabetically by publisher, and the images and summaries come from the offical FCBD website.  My comments are in purple.

What did you grab?  What did you enjoy?

Kid Friendly Titles

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ANTARCTICS ZOMBIE KID

STK460385 Free Comic Book Day 2012: Reviews!Publisher: ANTARCTIC PRESS
(W/A) David Hutchinson, Fred Perry (CA) David Hutchinson
(W/A) David Hutchinson, Fred Perry
(CA) David Hutchinson
All 6th-grader Bill Stokes wants is to get through middle school unnoticed so he can go on to become a big-time pro video-gamer.  Then his mom comes home from her medical research volunteer job with a zombie virus.  Now Bill has to deal with skin problems and body chemistry changes that make puberty look like a walk in the park!  How’s he supposed to realize his dream when his life has become a festering, rotting, undead nightmare?
I read the first four pages… it doesn’t appeal to me.  It’s kind of interesting…his mother is a zombie, he’s sort of a zombie (he’s still got his human reasoning).  But this is just another variant in the “kid’s diary” genre, with spot illustrations, which are pretty good for a zombie kid!
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MOUSE GUARD LABYRINTH & MORE HC

STK460061 Free Comic Book Day 2012: Reviews!
Publisher: ARCHAIA ENTERTAINMENT LLC
(W/A) Jeremy Bastian & Various (CA) David Peterson
(W) Jeremy Bastian, Nate Cosby, Royden Lepp, Jim McCann, Ted Naifeh, David Petersen (A) Jeremy Bastian, Chris Eliopoulos, Cory Godbey, Janet Lee, Royden Lepp and David Petersen
(C) David Petersen

This Free Comic Book Day, Archaia offers readers the chance to experience history in the making with a FREE, gorgeous, 48-page, 6″ x 9″ full-color original anthology hardcover featuring all-new material! David Petersen returns with an all-new Mouse Guard tale that’s guaranteed to tug at your heartstrings! Lose yourself once again in Jim Henson’s amazing world of Labyrinth, featuring a fantastical story from Eisner Award-nominee Ted Naifeh (Courtney Crumrin) and Cory Godbey (Fraggle Rock). Get a new perspective on Jet Jones in Royden Lepp’s critically acclaimed Rust, with a short story seen through the eyes of younger brother Oswald Taylor. Jeremy Bastian’s acclaimed Cursed Pirate Girl hits the high seas in this whimsical, swashbuckling tale of wonderland journeys and unimaginable dangers. Nate Cosby (Pigs) and Chris Eliopoulos (Franklin Richards) present Cow Boy, a comedy/western that tells the tale of a young bounty hunter determined to send his entire outlaw family to jail. And Jim McCann and Janet Lee follow up their Eisner Award-winning Return of the Dapper Men with an all-new short story that leads into the upcoming sequel, Time of the Dapper Men. Witness the origin of a new, major character! And…the return of 41?!

Yup… it’s a hardcover!  And… the stories inside are quite good!    48 pages, six stories!  Top of the pile, grab it while supplies last!

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SONIC THE HEDGEHOG

STK459223 Free Comic Book Day 2012: Reviews!Publisher: ARCHIE COMIC PUBLICATIONS
(W) Ian Flynn (A) Ben Bates, Terry Austin (CA) Tracy Yardley
(W) Ian Flynn.
(A) Ben Bates, Terry Austin
“…Two Steps Back: SPECIAL EDITION” Genesis may be over, but that doesn’t mean Sonic has saved the day! The Death Egg II still menaces New Mobotropolis, and Dr. Eggman has one more sinister trick up his sleeve. It’s a desperate race against time as Sonic and Sally try to prevent another world catastrophe, and the ending will leave you speechless.
It looks like DC wasn’t the only franchise which had a reality reboot recently!  It seems to have happened here, (via a shiny, candy-colored button) but at least the heroes know it happened.  Sonic battles robot duplicates, and Sally saves the day! But wait ’til you see the cliffhanger!  There’s some extra material in the back of the issue, giving background on Sonic’s allies.
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MEGA MAN

STK459222 Free Comic Book Day 2012: Reviews!Publisher: ARCHIE COMIC PUBLICATIONS
(W) Ian Flynn (A/CA) Patrick Spaz Spaziante
(W) Ian Flynn
(A) Patrick “SPAZ” Spaziante
“Let the Games Begin!” Part One: Don’t miss the first classic issue of the hit new MEGA MAN comic series! The future looks bright when brilliant and benevolent Dr. Light unveils his latest creations: the Robot Masters! But when the nefarious Dr. Wily steals them for his own sinister purposes, there is no one left to stop him. No one – except Mega Man!
Plus bonus features and a preview of the all-new series: The New Crusaders!

This is the origin issue of Mega Man, as his creator is backstabbed by his evil business partner!  It’s a bit like Astro Boy, with the same cartoony art style.

Lego cleverly placed a Hero Factory ad on the back of both Archie FCBD issues.  It might be a carryover from the regular newsstand issues, since the ad mentions a game guide inside the issue, which doesn’t exist.
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BONGO FREE-FOR-ALL / SPONGEBOB FREESTYLE

STK460618 Free Comic Book Day 2012: Reviews!Publisher: BONGO COMICS
(W/A) Matt Groening & Various
(W/A) Matt Groening & Various
Bongo offers the best in humor comics with a proud tale from the boasting barflies of Moe’s Tavern, as they recount their  close encounter with marauding beasts as members of the Springfield Bear Patrol. And Sergio Aragonés joins the fun with a story from his own past of how he made his first peso as an underground and underage artist. Then, flip over the book for two of the swimmingest SpongeBob sagas from the series’ hard-to-find earliest issues. In “Squidward and the Golden Clarinet,” SpongeBob reads an issue of Mermaid Man to a less-than-welcoming Squidward. But this story has a musical hook even Squidward can’t resist. Plus: a page of gags that go off the deep end by indie artiste James Kochalka.
Another MUST HAVE comic!  The Simpsons story is enjoyable, SpongeBob is awesome due to the Ramona Fradon art on Mermaid Man, but the greatest story is Sergio Aragonés telling how he became a professional cartoonist in grade school!  (Action figures were involved.)
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PEANUTS ADVENTURE TIME FLIPBOOK

STK460399 Free Comic Book Day 2012: Reviews!
Publisher: BOOM ENTERTAINMENT
(W/A/CA) Charles M. Schulz & Various
(W) Charles Schulz, Vicki Scott, Ryan North
(A) Charles Schulz, Ron Zorman,Vicki Scott, Paige Braddock, Shelli Paroline, Braden Lamb
(C) Charles Schulz, Shelli Paroline and Braden Lamb
Two stories of two boys and their dogs — on one side, Charlie Brown and Snoopy, along with the entire Peanuts gang, come to Free Comic Book Day! On the other side — boy Finn and his dog Jake, along with the entire cast of the hot new Cartoon Network series Adventure Time, adventure in the Land of Ooo for Free Comic Book Day! Get your full KABOOM! dose of “Good Griefs” and “Algebraics” all in one book!

The Peanuts material has been seen before, in Issue #0.  The Adventure Time stories, which I was not familiar with, are enjoyable.  If you’re a fan, you’ll probably like them even more!

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ROCKHEAD & ZINC ALLOY 2-FOR-NONE

STK459221 Free Comic Book Day 2012: Reviews!
Publisher: CAPSTONE PUBLISHING
(W) Scott Nickel, Donald Lemke (A) C.S. Jennings, Doug Holgate (CA) Doug Holgate
(W) Scott Nickel, Donald Lemke
(A) C.S. Jennings, Douglas Holgate
Two awesome adventures for the price of…NONE! Yep, that’s right, folks. Meet the world’s newest superheroes in this limited-edition, super spectacular FREE-VIEW! First, who’s mightier than marble? Who’s greater than granite? Who’s smarter than, uh, a rock…? It’s Chip Stone, aka The Incredible Rockhead, always ready to bash a few bullies!
Then, hitch a ride with young Zack Allen as he takes his Zinc Alloy super-suit for a wild and wacky test-drive. A comic this jam-packed with heroics and hilarity is – well, priceless (i.e. totally free)!

These aren’t really educational (although with the short previews, it could be shown elsewhere). They are fun… one kid can turn his head into rock, the other is a kid genius who has built a mecha robot. Of course, things don’t go like they should…

Capstone also publishes beginning reader books in the DC Super Pets line. So they included a one-page clip-out mini-poster of ALL the Super Pets (including some I didn’t recognize, like Flexy Frog) and the other heroes! If you didn’t pick up this book, it serves you right! You missed an awesome group shot, all done in the Tiny Titans style! (Zan! Jana! Swamp Thing (he’s smiling)! Apache Chief! Bizarro Krypto! Starro! The Phantom Zone Trio! Super Mouse?! Detective Chimp! Aw yeah!

(Capstone, DC… please print a large size poster for schools, libraries, and fans!  And maybe offer some downloads, like trading cards!)

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DC NATION SUPERMAN FAMILY FLIP BOOK

STK460686 Free Comic Book Day 2012: Reviews!
Publisher: DC
(W) Art Baltazar & Various (A) Dario Brizuela, Christopher Jones
(W) Art Baltazar, Franco, Various
(A) Dario Brizuela, Art Baltazar, Various
This super sampler is the place to check out Green Lantern Adventures and Young Justice, two sensational new comic series from the DC Kids line based on Warner Bros. Animation’s popular Green Lantern: The Animated Series and Young Justice, featured on the upcoming DC Nation programming block on Cartoon Network in 2012. The sampler includes two exciting, all-new stories that readers of all ages will enjoy. Plus, get a sneak-peek at the brand-new Superman Family Adventures monthly series from the Tiny Titans creative team!

The Superman Family Adventures preview is the same as the one currently printed in the DC Nation titles.  The Green Lantern and Young Justice stories appear to be original, with the YJ story being a teaser to issue #16.
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MOOMIN COLOR SPECIAL

STK460617 Free Comic Book Day 2012: Reviews!
Publisher: DRAWN & QUARTERLY
(W/A/CA) Tove Jansson
(W/A/CA) Tove Jansson
Drawn & Quarterly offers a second FCBD title for the first time this year and it will feature one of our most beloved and popular characters, MOOMIN! The Moomin Color Special will offer a sneak peak at the brand new Moomin books, in color for the first time, that D+Q will publish in Fall 2012. The Moomin characters were created by Tove Jansson and have developed a dedicated fan base of both children and adults for over six decades. The comics presented here were originally published in b/w and have now been re-colored by Drawn & Quarterly, with careful consideration of Tove’s palette. This will be the perfect All Ages comic book, ideal for developing a new readership of kids in the 6 to 12 age set. As a special bonus, this FCBD will also feature a 2nd preview of a new D+Q book, Anna & Froga, by Anouk Ricard.

Anna & Froga is a cute comic strip… a bit primitive in style, but with fun storytelling.  Moomin, well, tropical seeds germinate in the middle of a drought, creating a jungle!

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BARNABY

STK459371 Free Comic Book Day 2012: Reviews!
Publisher: FANTAGRAPHICS BOOKS
(W/A/CA) Crockett Johnson
(W/A) Crockett Johnson
Before Harold and the Purple Crayon there was Barnaby. Created by Crockett Johnson Barnaby ran in newspapers for over ten years (1942-52). Its subtle ironies and playful allusions won many passionate readers as they followed the adventures of 5-year-old Barnaby Baxter and his cigar-chomping fairy godfather Jackeen J. O’Malley.

Finally!  A sneak preview to the first of five annual volumes!  The strips suffer from the enlarged panels (four to a page), but this serves as a nice introduction to the strip.  Recommended by Dorothy Parker and Milton Caniff.

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WALT DISNEYS DONALD DUCK FAMILY COMICS

STK459372 Free Comic Book Day 2012: Reviews!
Publisher: FANTAGRAPHICS BOOKS
(W/A/CA) Carl Barks
(W/A) Carl Barks
Three amazingly adventurous, thrillingly stupendous, wonderfully wonderous comics by one of the greatest cartoonists of all time! Carl Barks! CARL BARKS! The biggest name in cartoons, second to only Walt Disney! Find out what happens to Donald, Daisy, Uncle Scrooge, Gyro Gearloose, and Huey, Duey in these extremely entertaining and wonderfully told FULL COLOR comics!

One Uncle Scrooge ten-pager, one Donald Duck ten-pager, a five-page Uncle Scrooge story (“Somethin’ Fishy Here”) that shows just how industrious he can be, and eight one-page gags.  No index numbers on the stories.
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MY FAVORITE MARTIAN SPECIAL EDITION

STK459327 Free Comic Book Day 2012: Reviews!
Publisher: HERMES PRESS
(A) Dan Spiegle (CA) Photo
(A) Dan Spiegle
Uncle Martin (our favorite Martian) is a stow away on a rocket to Mars! Art by Silver Age great Dan Spiegle; supplementary artwork by Mike Arens; photographs from the original 1963-66 TV show.

Uncle Martin finally returns to Mars!  One story, plus some one-page gags and production photos.  The reproduction is a bit poor, perhaps the first volume will correct this.  The landlady’s daughter? (niece?  What happened to Mr. Brown?) features in this story, even though she only appeared in three episodes of the series (was this an attempt to make the comic more appealing to kids?)

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SPIDER-MAN SEASON ONE

STK460558 Free Comic Book Day 2012: Reviews!
Publisher: MARVEL COMICS
(W) Cullen Bunn (A) Neil Edwards (CA) Julian Totino Tedesco
(W) Cullen Bunn
(A) Neil Edwards
(CA) Julian Totino Tedesco
It’s the Year of the Spider with Spidey’s 50th anniversary, the debut of the blockbuster film Amazing Spider-Man, and the all new original Spider-Man Season One Graphic Novel! Do not miss out. Get the first chapter of the eagerly anticipated Spider-Man: Season One graphic novel from Cullen Bunn and Neil Edwards!

This was the first “Season One” story I read, and it’s pretty normal… it’s comics, it’s a new origin, and it hits the bullet points you expect in a Spider-Man story.  Peter Parker is a bit cooler (he gets off a great zinger at Flash Thompson) but still has the typical teenager problems in high school.

The Human Torch is mentioned as a celebrity, so these Season One books might tie together.  Which is a bad idea, since these books are meant to be accessible to the non-fan, and having a shared universe complicates accessibility.  It also complicates publishing, since these are most likely annual volumes, original graphic novels, and it’s hard to do crossovers or events with such lengthy pre-production schedules.

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SMURFS & DISNEY FAIRIES FEAT TINKER BELL

STK460212 Free Comic Book Day 2012: Reviews!
Publisher: NBM
(W/A) Various (CA) Peyo, Various
(W/A) Various
For years people have been asking for more comics for children, especially young girls. Well, Papercutz, for over seven years has been producing great graphic novels for all ages. This special flip-comic book highlights kid-friendly, world famous characters such as Tinker Bell and Smurfette, as well as new titles from Papercutz such as Dance Class featuring dance students and best friends, Julie, Lucy, and Alia, and Ernest & Rebecca, which features a six and a half year old Rebecca and her best friend, Ernest, who is a germ.

Curses!  One of two titles I wasn’t able to get this year!  I’ve seen the regular books previewed here, and they’re all fun, all ages stories!

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YO GABBA GABBA FREE COMIC BOOK TIME

STK459877 Free Comic Book Day 2012: Reviews!
Publisher: ONI PRESS INC.
(W) Jamie S. Rich & Various (A) Mike Allred & Various (CA) Parker Jacobs

(W) Jamie S. Rich & Various
(A) Mike Allred & Various
(CA) Parker Jacobs
From the hit Nickelodeon show! Come join your Gabba Land pals Muno, Foofa, Brobee, Toodee, Plex and, of course, DJ Lance Rock, for a series of fun-filled adventures! Plus, an awesome Super-Martian-Robot-Girl tale, too!

Another MUST HAVE!  Mike Allred draws the first Yo Gabba Gabba story, and Super Robot Martian Girl appears in a story by Evan Dorkin and Sarah Dyer!  The second YGG story has some cool coloring Rico Renzi!

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TOP SHELF KIDS CLUB

STK460615 Free Comic Book Day 2012: Reviews!
Publisher: TOP SHELF PRODUCTIONS
(W/A) Andy Runton & Various (CA) Chris Eliopoulos

(W/A) Andy Runton & Various
(CA) Chris Eliopoulos
Top Shelf is proud to join the 2012 FREE COMIC BOOK DAY celebration with not one, but six all-ages tales. In this FCBD edition, we present adventures from our kid-favorite titles: Owly by Andy Runton, Johnny Boo by James Kochalka, Korgi by Christian Slade,Okie Dokie Donuts by Chris Eliopoulos, Pirate Penguin Vs Ninja Chicken by Ray Friesen, and Upside Down by Jess Smart Smiley. Perfect for everyone in the family. With a great cover by Ray Friesen this time around to boot!

A nice sampler of stories.  Nothing knocked my socks off (aside from the Korgi robot), but the stories are fun.

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VOLTRON FORCE SHELTER FROM THE STORM

STK459915 Free Comic Book Day 2012: Reviews!
Publisher: VIZ LLC
(W) Brian Smith (A/CA) Jacob Chabot

(W) Brian Smith
(A/CA) Jacob Chabot
After a mysterious disappearance, the mighty Voltron is back! Now the original Voltron pilots – Pidge, Hunk, Lance, Allura and Commander Keith – are training three new cadets: Daniel, Larmina and Vince. Each cadet brings something special to the team, and as they train, the depths of their gifts are revealed. And with King Lotor and his villainous minion Maahox out to destroy Voltron once and for all, the day that these new cadets must step up may be sooner than expected!

I was never a fan (Voltron never reached the Midlands), but this is a fun story, as young cadets learn the lesson of teamwork.  The big threat from Lotor?  Buy the graphic novel and find out!

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ANIMAL PLANET WORLD MOST DANGEROUS ANIMALS

STK459917 Free Comic Book Day 2012: Reviews!
Publisher: ZENESCOPE ENTERTAINMENT INC
(W) Joe Brusha (A) Various (CA) TBD

(W) Joe Brusha
(A) Various
(CA)  TBD
This Free Comic Book Day edition of Silver Dragon Books’ first Animal Planet graphic novel gives a sneak peak at terrifying encounters between man and beast, illustrating what happens when humans interact with the World’s Most Dangerous Animals!

An educational comic, with some true (?) stories about bears and alligators, and why they’re dangerous!  There’s also a six-page preview for Jurassic Strike Force 5 #1.

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General audience

ARCANA PRESENTS INTRINSIC #1

STK460321 Free Comic Book Day 2012: Reviews!Publisher: ARCANA STUDIO
(W) Sean O’Reilly, Casey Jones (A/CA) Various
(W) Sean Patrick O’Reilly, Casey Jones
(A) Various
Horrors from different worlds have assembled to bring about a global threat known only as The End. A Philosopher has recognized the signs in time to gather his own forces for Good – including an ordinary, powerless young woman. Only together can they avert disaster on a biblical scale. Every last one of them… is Intrinsic.
‘Intrinsic’ is a company crossover event bringing together characters from hundres of titles beneath Arcana’s library. It is an event of unprecedented ambition, unlike anything that has been before.

The synopsis above says it all.  Lackluster art, lettering, and story make me not want to read further.

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WORLDS OF ASPEN

STK460021 Free Comic Book Day 2012: Reviews!Publisher: ASPEN MLT INC
(W/A/CA) Various
(W/A) Various
Aspen’s Newest Hit Series Debuts Right Here!!
A special compilation issue showcasing several brand new Aspen properties for 2012, featuring an all-new original 8 page story by Scott Lobdell and Oliver Nome, debuting the brand new series HOMECOMING, along with previews and story outtakes from several of Aspen¹s hottest and newest titles – including David Schwartz’s Idolized, the return of Fathom: Kiani, the deadly new seriesExecutive Assistant: Assassins and long time favorites, FathomSoulfireShrugged, and Lady Mechanika! Plus, don’t miss out on your first look at this summer’s big Soulfire event, The Search For The Light, and a whole lot more!

Homecoming has a nice premise (UFO abductee returns to save the Earth from invasion, enlists high school students to help), and Idolized mixes superheroes with reality television competitions.  The rest… well, I know they’re meant to showcase various properties, but one-page profiles look like advertisements, and I flipped right past them to get to the next story.  Oh, and this is one of those things they tell people in portfolio revues: splash pages are not story pages.  Give me a few pages of story, show don’t tell.

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BURT WARD BOY WONDER

STK459845 Free Comic Book Day 2012: Reviews!Publisher: BLUEWATER PRODUCTIONS
(W) Jeffrey Renaud (A/CA) Ramon Salas
(W) Jeffrey Renaud
(A) Ramon Salas
(C/A) Ramon Salas
For the creators of the hit Misadventures of Adam West series, comes the out of this world spin-off featuring everyone’s favorite Boy Wonder, Burt Ward.  After playing Robin in the Batman TV show, Burt still needs to be a hero and along with a couple of friends saves the world again and again!

This story is based on Burt Ward’s animal charity, Gentle Giants, which rescues abandoned dogs around the world.  This story has him chasing his dogs which are chasing a stranger through a dimensional portal.  The art is unfinished, which doesn’t help Bluewater’s reputation.  The flip book is “Wrath of the Titans Classic”, which seems to be an easy-to-read picture book, with text on one side, comics panels on the other.  Or maybe they script reproduced since they didn’t have time to letter the art?  Either way, the text describes what’s happening in each panel, which is another rookie mistake in comics.  If this is the actual book, I wouldn’t buy it.  There are better beginning reader books out there.

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THE HYPERNATURALS

STK460400 Free Comic Book Day 2012: Reviews!Publisher: BOOM ENTERTAINMENT
(W) Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning (A) TBD
This Free Comic Book Day… A universe trembles.
It is the far future; the human race has finally colonized the galaxy, preserving an era of prosperity that’s only possible because of The Hypernaturals. They’re a celebrated, galaxy-wide superhero task force that keeps the peace. That is, until they all mysteriously vanish. Now, as the galaxy teeters on the brink of chaos, it’s up to a group of retired and long forgotten Hypernaturals – and their novice recruits – to save the galaxy from complete destruction.
Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, the superstar writing duo behind Annihilation and The Legion, launch an all-new original series that takes cosmic super-heroes to a new frontier. Experience the special preview issue of The Hypernaturals this May and pick up the #1 issue this July!

The Singularity has come.  Every five years, a new superteam is announced to protect far-flung humanity.  It’s the centennial, and the latest iteration has gone missing while facing the latest threat.  Retired members (there’s a 15-year service limit) are contacted to help solve the mystery.  It’s an interesting concept,  possibly best read as a collection.

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STAR WARS SERENITY

STK459374 Free Comic Book Day 2012: Reviews!
Publisher: DARK HORSE
(W) Zack Whedon (A) Fábio Moon, Christian Dalla Vecchia (CA) Adam Hughes, Daniel Dos Santos

(W) Zack Whedon
(A) Fábio Moon, Christian Dalla Vecchia
(C/A) Adam Hughes, Daniel Dos Santos
Han Solo and Chewbacca have a falling-out after a deal with a shady customer goes bad. When the client gets designs on theMillennium Falcon, Han and Chewie present a united front that can’t be beat! “Mal” Reynolds, captain of the outlaw vessel Serenity, is no stranger to jobs gone wrong. But when the chips are down, he’s able to rely on an amazing, odd, and diversely talented crew for help! Two great space epics in one issue!

Two similar science fiction captains star in two similar stories.  This issue also contains the first part of “Alabaster: Shelter” by Kiernan and Lieber.
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BUFFY THE GUILD

STK459375 Free Comic Book Day 2012: Reviews!Publisher: DARK HORSE
(W) Andrew Chambliss, Felicia Day (A) Jonathan Case, Dexter Vines (CA) Georges Jeanty & Various
(W) Andrew Chambliss, Felicia Day
(A) Georges Jeanty, Jonathan Case, Dexter Vines
Buffy has never needed a vacation so badly as she does now – with the world overrun with zompires and other fallout from Season 8. Luckily, Spike has got the perfect solution: a “spacecation”!
Having lost their regular real-life meeting place, the Guildies are having a little trouble finding a new location they can all agree on. A little in-game battle becomes the deciding factor, and the circle follows the decree of the winner: the beach?!

Oooh…. this is a fun Buffy story!  All I can say is that Buffy is owned by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, and “crosses over” with a corporate cousin!

I’m not familiar with “The Guild”, but this story, where the gamers must first duel to determine a meeting place, and then meet in person at said place, has made me a fan.  Is there a comic?  A graphic novel?  No information in the comic.

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DC COMICS THE NEW 52 SPECIAL ED

STK460685 Free Comic Book Day 2012: Reviews!
Publisher: DC
(W) Geoff Johns (A) Jim Lee & Various (CA) Jim Lee, Scott Williams
(W/A) Various
Get an exclusive look at what’s happening at DC in 2012 – Featuring art by legendary illustrator Jim Lee and other top talents, DC Comics – The New 52 FCBD Edition will include a new story by New York Times bestselling writer Geoff Johns.There will also be preview material from DC Comics – The New 52 “Second Wave” titles, including Batman IncorporatedDial H,Earth 2G.I. CombatThe Ravagers and Worlds’ Finest.

But that’s not all; there are still more surprises to come. Stay tuned to for details!

Hooboy, are the fans gonna creem when they read this!  Three origins told!  The Rock of Eternity and what may be the seven letters of Shazam!  Some colored rooms, an alternate universe? and a four-page centerfold that teases what may be the first event in the New DC 52.
The other half showcases the Second Wave of titles:  The War That Time Forgot, Batman Incorporated, Dial H, Earth 2, World’s Finest, The Ravagers, and G.I. Combat.  The first and last titles mentioned get one page, the others get two.
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OVERSTREET COMIC BOOK MARKETPLACE

STK459326 Free Comic Book Day 2012: Reviews!Publisher: GEMSTONE PUBLISHING
(W) Robert M. Overstreet, J. C. Vaughn
(W) Robert M. Overstreet, J.C. Vaughn, Various
The Walking Dead
Tales From The CryptTomb of DraculaSwamp Thing. Horror stories have been giving comic book fans the creeps for decades, yet they often fail to get their due. What defines horror? What’s new in the genre? Now the team behind The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide takes an insightful look at the worlds of horror in this new special. Great articles, interviews, and market snapshots focus on what makes reading and collecting horror comics so cool. Cover by Zombie-Proof artist Vincent Spencer.

A sampler of horror comics articles from various Overstreet sources.  A good primer for fans of that genre.
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INFERNAL DEVICES CLOCKWORK ANGEL

STK459843 Free Comic Book Day 2012: Reviews!
Publisher: HACHETTE BOOK GROUP USA
(W) Cassandra Clare (A) HyeKyung Baek (CA) Hye-Kyung Baek
(W) Cassandra Clare
(A) HyeKyung Baek
A prequel to Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series, the #1 New York Times-bestselling The Infernal Devices is the story of Tessa Gray, a sixteen-year-old American girl traveling alone to Victorian London who runs afoul of the city’s sordid supernatural underworld. Rescued by the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, Tessa quickly finds herself caught up in an intrigue that may very well destroy her new friends – including the two enigmatic young men, Jem and Will, who have taken her under their wing…

Yup… that’s what the comic is about.  It’s a manga adaptation of bestselling author Cassandra Clare’s “Infernal Devices” series.  Well done… hard to tell it’s not from Japan.
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TRANSFORMERS #80.5

STK460612 Free Comic Book Day 2012: Reviews!
Publisher: IDEA & DESIGN WORKS LLC
(W) Simon Furman (A/CA) Andrew Wildman

(W) Simon Furman
(A/CA) Andrew Wildman
The wait is over – after a 20-year hiatus, IDW proudly returns to the original Transformers comic book universe, picking up right where 1991’s Transformers #80 left off! Optimus Prime, Grimlock, Kup, Hot Rod and all your favorite Generation One Transformerscharacters charge into the future as fan-favorite writer Simon Furman and legendary Transformers artist Andrew Wildman presentTransformers #80.5! Reflecting back on the dizzying highs and the terrifying lows of the original run of Transformers comics, Optimus Prime watches over a Cybertron that hasn’t faced Megatron for decades. But that peace shudders to an end, as we dive headlong into July’s Transformers #81!

Because the Fans demanded it! Thousand of Transformers fans signed petitions urging us to make this book – and IDW listened!

Created by the same writer, penciler, and inker of Transformer #80 in 1991!

Bonus features make clear IDW’s current Transformers line of comics, as well as our extensive reprint program!

I didn’t read the series back in the 1980s, and this issue doesn’t really recap the story which will be continued twenty years later.  The recap bounces around the timeline, making it hard to figure out what’s going on.  Maybe I should just read the Wikipedia article…

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IMAGE 20

STK460687 Free Comic Book Day 2012: Reviews!Publisher: IMAGE COMICS
(W/A) Various
Image Comics presents its 20th anniversary anthology with six, all-new original stories promoting upcoming Image Comics titles! Look for “Revival” by Tim Seeley & Mike Norton, G-Man by Chris Giarrusso and additional stories to be announced later.
From the PR:
IMAGE 20 is jam-packed full of exciting stories from new, upcoming comics and returning favorites. Titles include G-MAN from Chris Giarrusso, Robert Kirkman’s GUARDING THE GLOBE from Phil Hester and Todd Nauck, Mike Allred’s IT GIRL AND THE ATOMICS from Jamie S. Rich and Mike Norton, CRIME AND TERROR by Steve Niles and Scott Morse, NEAR DEATH by Jay Faerber and Simone Guglielmini, and REVIVAL from Tim Seeley and Mike Norton.

G-Man sets up an interesting tale with some dark undertones.  Guarding the Globe… doesn’t make me want to read more, but I’m sure it’s a good story.  Crime and Terror by Niles and Morse is my fave from this issue (Scott Morse gets an automatic recommendation from me)!  Revival, Atomics, Near Death… didn’t grab me, but might be better as a graphic novel.

The “Experience Creativity” ad campaign is amazing!

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DINOSAURS VERSUS ALIENS

STK460358 Free Comic Book Day 2012: Reviews!Publisher: LIQUID COMICS LLC
(W) Grant Morrison, Barry Sonnenfeld (A/CA) Mukesh Singh
(W) Grant Morrison, Barry Sonnenfeld
(A/CA) Mukesh Singh
From the minds of acclaimed filmmaker, Barry Sonnenfeld (Men In Black) and superstar graphic novel creator, Grant Morrison (BatmanThe Invisibles), comes Dinosaurs Versus Aliens! When an alien invasion attacks Earth in the age of the dinosaurs, our planet’s only saviors are the savage prehistoric beasts… which are much more intelligent than we ever imagined! Featuring artwork from acclaimed artist, Mukesh Singh (Guy Ritchie’s Gamekeeper).

Manifest Destiny, with dinosaurs as Native Americans, and aliens as Europeans.  Beautiful dinosaur artwork, interesting premise, written by Grant Morrison!  This will be an original graphic novel!
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GRAPHIC ELVIS PREVIEW

STK460359 Free Comic Book Day 2012: Reviews!Publisher: LIQUID COMICS LLC
(W) Stan Lee, Various (A) John Cassaday & Various (CA) Mukesh Singh
(W) Stan Lee, Various
(A) John Cassaday, Various
(CA) Mukesh Singh
This FCBD Preview of the Graphic Elvis collector’s book features selected stories and excerpts from the deluxe hardcover edition! An illustrated homage to Elvis’ lifelong appreciation of comic books, Graphic Elvis also commemorates the 35th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death in 2012. In the same way comic books inspired Elvis, this book allowed today’s premiere comic book creators to find inspiration from Elvis’ treasured archives at Graceland, creating a unique visual experience for his millions of fans.

A limited edition (2500 copies) hardcover.  Some interesting photos and pin-ups, and a somewhat strange “Elvis at the Pearly Gates” story written by Stan Lee.
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AVENGERS AGE OF ULTRON POINT ONE

STK460557 Free Comic Book Day 2012: Reviews!Publisher: MARVEL COMICS
(W) Brian Michael Bendis (A/CA) Bryan Hitch
(W) Brian Michael Bendis
(A/CA) Bryan Hitch
Start reading with this POINT ONE issue. Prepare for the upcoming high-stakes Avengers event with a battle between the Avengers and the Intelligencia, the return of SWORD, and the disappearance of Spider-Woman!

The cover at left says “#12.1″, while mine says “#0.1″.  It’s the “Age of Ultron” prologue.  Which Ultron?  I guess we’ll find out soon…
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BAD MEDICINE #1

STK459883 Free Comic Book Day 2012: Reviews!Publisher: ONI PRESS INC.
(W) Nunzio DeFillipis, Christina Weir (A/CA) Christopher Mitten
(W) Nunzio DeFillipis, Christina Weir
(A/CA) Christopher Mitten
Pulled out of exile from a dark corner of the world, renowned-surgeon-turned-fringe-medicine-eccentric Dr. Randal Horne must return to New York City to investigate a tragic research lab accident that’s left one man dead… and inexplicably headless. With the help of a distrusting NYPD detective, Horne must diagnose whether this strange case was truly a random act of misfortune, or the first calculated move by an invisible, psychotic murderer.

X-Files meets CSI?  Interesting, but not my cuppa.

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ATOMIC ROBO & FRIENDS

STK459153 Free Comic Book Day 2012: Reviews!Publisher: RED 5 COMICS
(W) Brian Clevinger (A/CA) Scott Wagner
(W) Brian Clevinger
(A) Scott Wegener
Unanimously heralded by fans, creators, retailers and critics as the perfect first comic to give to a non-comic-reader, Atomic Robo is back to delight all audiences with the ultimate equation.Atomic Robo + Dr. Dinosaur = Team Up

Dr. Dinosaur is the villain, but he’s needed to solve a problem at CERN.  There’s also a preview to Neozoic, which is sort of a medieval fantasy with dinosaurs?  Then there’s Bonnie Lass, the daughter of a famous pirate.
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FINDING GOSSAMYR STUFF OF LEGEND

STK459889 Free Comic Book Day 2012: Reviews!Publisher: TH3RD WORLD STUDIOS
(W) David Rodriguez & Various (A/CA) Sarah Ellerton, Charles Paul Wilson
(W) David Rodriguez, Various
(A/CA) Sarah Ellerton, Charles Paul Wilson
When a brilliant young boy named Denny solves the most perplexing puzzle in the history of mankind, he and his caretaker sister, Jenna, are transported to the fantastic land of Gossamyr, where math is magic and the boy’s unique condition gives him incredible power. Finding Gossamyr is written by game designer/writer David A. Rodriguez and beautifully illustrated by talented newcomer Sarah Ellerton. Also in this issue: a special preview of The Stuff of Legend Volume 4!

That synopsis listed above?  It’s not in this book.  This is a prologue.  There is a bit of a tease with Gossamyr, but mostly it’s a lot of talking.  Stuff of Legend offers a brief recap with some nice art.  I don’t know what the story is, but some major comics creators recommend it.
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ANTI

STK459912 Free Comic Book Day 2012: Reviews!Publisher: 12 GAUGE COMICS LLC
(W) Peter Calloway, Nathan Edmondson (A) 12-Gauge (CA) Brian Stelfreeze
(W) Peter Calloway, Nathan Edmondson
(A) 12-Gauge Studios
(CA) Brian Stelfreeze
Legendary producer Gale Anne Hurd (TerminatorAliensThe Walking Dead) teams with 12-Gauge Comics to present the tale of Zachary, a faithless man forced to confront the reality that he’s the savior of the world. Chased by demons that have infiltrated earth disguised as humans, while grudgingly protected by demon-hunter Jordan, the journey for knowledge, survival and more begins here! Plus: The Ride returns from writer Nathan Edmondson, teasing the all-new series!

That synopsis… that isn’t shown in the preview.  So no further interest.  The Ride… nice art, serviceable story, but I have no idea what the series is about.

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2000 AD JUDGE DREDD SPEC

STK459888 Free Comic Book Day 2012: Reviews!
Publisher: DIAMOND COMIC DIST–ENGLAND
(W) Rob Williams & Various (A) Dom Reardon & Various
(W) Rob Williams, Various
(A) Dom Reardon, Various
The UK’s leading SF anthology comic, 2000AD, is back for its second year as a sponsor of FCBD, bringing you a fresh batch of Thrill-Powered strips from the biggest and best creators in the industry: Ichabod Azrael by Rob Williams & Dom Reardon; Zombo: The Day the Zombo Died by Al Ewing & Henry Flint; a classic Ro-Busters tale by Alan Moore and Steve Dillon, and a superhero-themed ‘Future Shock’ tale, Whatever Happened to the Green Pedestrian Palm? by Chris Weston! All this, plus an all-new Judge Dredd tale from John Wagner and a surprise guest artist!

Aw heck… the other title I couldn’t find.  Dunno what sort of contract Alan Moore has with 2000 AD, but his work for them is always enjoyable.  Looking up the “Pedestrian Palm” story, it looks like it would be a MUST HAVE for comics fans.  Did anyone get this issue?  Anyone have an extra they’d like send my way?
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VALIANT PREVIEW

STK459913 Free Comic Book Day 2012: Reviews!Publisher: VALIANT ENTERTAINMENT LLC
(W/A) TBD (CA) Jelena Kevic-Djurdjevic
(W/A) TBD
(CA) Jelena Kevic-Djurdjevic
The Valiant Universe returns! X-O Manowar! Bloodshot! Harbinger! Some of the best-selling heroes of all time are back in a groundbreaking new beginning helmed by an all-star roster of comic book superstars and visionaries. Journey through the heart of the Valiant Universe with brand new stories, character redesigns, and an exclusive first look into Valiant’s bold first year. This freepreview – featuring content you won’t find anywhere else – hits the stands just as Valiant’s best-selling titles return to stores worldwide.

The origin of X-O Manowar is shown, taking place during the Roman Empire.  I love the David Aja variant cover for #1!  Harbinger… no idea who the character is, or why I should buy issue #1 when it comes out.  Script pages and interviews fill up the rest of the book.  I’ll give Archer & Armstrong a glance when it comes out.

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WITCHBLADE UNBALANCED PIECES

STK460688 Free Comic Book Day 2012: Reviews!
Publisher: IMAGE COMICS
(W) Tim Seeley (A) Diego Bernard (CA) John Tyler Christopher
(W) Tim Seeley
(A) Diego Bernard, Fred Benes
(CA) John Tyler Christopher
With a brand new creative team and a fresh new direction, now is the time for new and lapsed readers to try out Witchblade! Since the events of Artifacts, Sara Pezzini’s entire life has been altered in immeasurable ways. Not the least of which is she’s living in a new city and has a new career, but one thing remains constant – the Witchblade. A mysterious, ancient Artifact which often takes the form of a powerful gauntlet and serves a magnet for all things supernatural. In this Free Comic Book Day edition, fans will get a look at the first complete story, “Unbalanced Pieces,” by the new creative team Tim Seeley (Hack/SlashBloodstryke) and Diego Bernard (The Man With No Name). This issue serves as a perfect introduction so readers can either pick up the new trade collection or dive into Witchblade #156!

Another universal “rebirth”, via the Artifacts epic.  The Darkness sums it all up in five pages, and then there’s a Witchblade story where we meet some interesting weirdness.

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JURASSIC STRIKEFORCE 5

STK459920 Free Comic Book Day 2012: Reviews!Publisher: ZENESCOPE ENTERTAINMENT INC
(W) Joe Brusha (A) J.L. Giles-Rivera (CA) Mike Capprotti
(W) Joe Brusha
(A) J.L. Giles-Rivera
(CA) Mike Capprotti
Kept on ice for millions of years, the Earth’s first team of heroes is back to protect the planet from the threat of the evil alien overlord Zalex and his band of mutated DinoSoldiers! In this Free Comic Book Day edition Jurassic StrikeForce 5’s leader, Rex, tests his skills in a training session that gets out of control and that threatens to make the hero extinct!

A ten-page preview, of a comic and toy line owned by Zenescope.  No explanation of who or what the story is, so no interest from me.

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Mature Readers

STK460401 Free Comic Book Day 2012: Reviews!Publisher: BOOM ENTERTAINMENT
(W/A/CA) Howard Cruse
(W) Howard Cruse
(A) Howard Cruse
(C) Howard Cruse
In conjunction with the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, BOOM! Town presents “The Censored Howard Cruse”! Get a special sneak-peek at this summer’s upcoming “The Other Sides of Howard Cruse” graphic novel. He’s known for his gay comix, but that’s not all that’s been on his mind! From his Underground days up through present day, Howard wrote on a slew of topics, including freedom of speech, civil rights, drugs, and interesting uses for toothpaste. Get a taste of his impressive catalog of works, just with a few tastefully-placed black boxes. You’ll have to get the OGN for the uncensored version!

Yup… little black boxes all over the place, and still very enjoyable.

There’s a text page from the CBLDF.  If you enjoy this book, give a donation.  Considering the trouble another Free Comic Book Day comic caused a few years ago, everyone should help keep the ideas as free as the comics.
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LADY DEATH THE BEGINNING (NET) (MR)

STK459322 Free Comic Book Day 2012: Reviews!
Publisher: AVATAR PRESS INC
(W) Brian Pulido, Mike Wolfer (A) Marcelo Mueller (CA) Jason Eden
(W) Brian Pulido & Mike Wolfer
(A) Marcelo Mueller
Join us in welcoming Lady Death’s 20th anniversary year with this special Free Comic Book Day edition!  Her travels have taken her down many different roads but she has always remained a mysterious and powerful goddess.  Now new readers can step into her story seamlessly with this 40 page introductory issue that launches the Avatar storyline of Lady Death’s current ongoing tale.  Collected here are the contents of Lady Death Premiere and issue #0, which makes up the first chapter in the Lady Death Vol 1 TP and introduces fans to a Lady Death who has to face her greatest challenge yet – regaining her powers taken by the mysterious villainess Death Queen!
Mature Reader?  Let me take a closer look at the art with my loupe…  nope… no nudity, just blood and guts.  The story’s okay.  The cleavage and cheesecake is toned down, no brokeback poses.  The War Goddess preview, on the other hand, not only has a BB pose, but an oddly placed nipple (and what would be the skimpiest butt floss in comics, if it wasn’t covered by leather pants).
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Comments

  1. Chris Hero says:

    Yo Gabba Gabba AND Mike Allred together at the same time? Oh wow!

    The Guild is a show on YouTube and Dark Horse occasionally releases comics based on it written by Felicia Day and drawn by one of the greatest comic artists alive, Jim Rugg.

    I badly want the KaBoom book with the Adventure Time story.

    I’m really jealous people live in places where they can get these books. I’ve never had such an opportunity.

  2. Torsten Adair says:

    Sources at Diamond tell me that stores can order FCBD titles by the PIECE. Given the lead time in announcing the titles, one could conceivably preorder a complete set of comics very cheaply. (25 cents a copy?)

    Of course, this is a slippery slope… some stores might start selling complete sets on eBay.

  3. Thanks for this! I didn’t get a chance to read all the ones I wanted, like the 2000AD one, so this was helpful. I took my friend and baby cousin to Graham Crackers Comics in Chicago, and everyone got a copy of The New 52 freeborn with a special cover that allowed 3free Comics from select boxes… in the future! I think it was a good way to get pepper in the door and KEEP them coming.

  4. Kater says:

    The Pedestrian Palm was probably the best five pages I read on the FCBD. “Sell-outs assemble!” So awesome!

  5. In hindsight, I should have grabbed that Mouse Guard HC but this was a great opportunity to pick up some kid-friendly books for my students.

  6. Marvel’s Season One hardcovers are coming out approximately bimonthly. Fantastic Four, Daredevil, and X-Men were all on my retailer’s shelf yesterday.

  7. “The Rock of Eternity and what may be the seven letters of Shazam! ”

    Shazam has only 6 letters, unless the exclamation counts. But there are 7 deadly sin (and possibly there opposite?)

  8. James A Woods says:

    Love “The Guild” and pretty much everything Felicia Day touches. She first caught my attention in “Dr. Horrible.” I am surprised to see that you were unaware of the web series. Day has a new channel on YouTube — http://www.youtube.com/user/geekandsundry — where you can see “The Guild” and other projects.

  9. Al™ says:

    My local stores had very few FCBs left by the time I came by, but the Bongo comic caught my eye. I flipped through it and left it there.

    Mostly it was a day of saying hello to the managers, and browsing the sales they offered on ‘already read’ copies of GNs.

    One shop had 20 people in line at the cash at 2pm, the next shop had ‘zip’.

  10. Rob J. says:

    Torsten: The Guild is a webseries written, produced and starring Felicia Day from Dr. Horrible and Eureka (and last week’s episode of Supernatural). There have been five seasons — each equivalent in combined time to one episode of a TV series. They have aired via Xbox, MSN and a couple other places I forget and each season but are also available on DVD, which is how I got it. The first season is *very* rough — hey, nobody else had really done a webseries to this extent back then — but the DVD I got had both season 1 and season 2, so I can tell you that it grows in quality.

    The Guild is an hilarious look at a group of players of an unnamed World-of-Warcraft-like game. Very droll comedy that should appeal to the geekiest, nerdiest fans of The Big Bang Theory and Community.

    So far, Dark Horse has published eight comics, a 3-issue miniseries, siumply called “The Guild,” written by Felicia Day and centering around her character, Codex. (All of the characters are referred to by the names of their in-game characters.) And five more one-shots each co-written by Day each charater’s corresponding actor: Vork, Bladezz, Clara, Tink and Zaboo. The miniseries has already been collected into a TPB and I expect that a TPB of the one-shots will be published before the end of the year.

    You don’t need to have seen the webseries to appreciate the comics. They’re mostly backstory. Hilarious backstory, especially the absolutely insane Zaboo tale illustrated by Backy Cloonan. I’ve never been a gamer, but this was one of those circumstances where I was hooked by the sample pages of the first issue of the miniseries that ran in Previews.

    Hope that helps! The series is a blast!

  11. Something curious I’m noticing about FCBD comics, as each year goes by. I could swear when it first began most of the books were full done-in-one stories. Now many of them appear to be nothing more than glorified teaser previews. I’m not sure that’s the best way to get people to read comics. I mean, I get it, but still. My boyfriend came to his very first FCBD, and he was disappointed to learn most of the books weren’t full stories, but rather teasers of things he was going to have to buy down the line…

  12. Doh! Forgot about the 2000 AD one, oh well, my store didn’t have it. Love Atomic Robo’s free comic book day…love Doctor Dinosaur.

  13. Torsten Adair says:

    Interesting comment about the teasers…

    Most of these comics did have at least one complete story, even if the rest of the comic was teaser/ads.

    Bongo, Dark Horse (both), Boom (all three), Valiant (half), Donald Duck, My Favorite Martian, Archie (both), 2000 AD, Avengers, DC Nation (half), Atomic Robo, Yo Gabba Gabba…

  14. My store limited subscribers to two comics so I picked up the Bongo and the Kaboom issues.

    I really liked the Adventure Time story in the Kaboom issue. Oddly it was paired with a Peanuts story, which I understand was a limited series and now finished? Should have paired it with Snarked, another excellent Kaboom title.

  15. Torsten Adair says:

    The Peanuts content was already available as a #0 issue last November. They should have paired it with the new Garfield series using cover #1B!

  16. henrybarajas says:

    Arcadia put out the best free comic book I have ever seen. Best in show.

  17. OtisTFirefly says:

    Nice to see Ramona Fradon art again on Aquam…er, Mermaid Man!

  18. Robert says:

    A few thoughts on FCBD:

    I was at 4 different comic shops in a 40-mile radius and no one received the 2000 A.D. book. All the other titles were available in varying quantities.

    One problem I see with the flip books is that the retailers usually have separate piles for both covers and inevitably, some customers will end up taking both books, not realizing they’re 2 sides of the same book.

    I agree with the comments regarding Done-In-One stories for FCBD, though I suppose the nature of many of these titles doesn’t allow for something like that. Still, I’d much prefer seeing Done-In-One, rather than getting a 4-page preview, often saying very little, and then telling me to buy a forthcoming title.

    Along those lines, how difficult, when possible, would it be to have some new, exclusive material for FCBD? I’m not sure yet if it happened with this year’s offerings, but it always seemed cheap to just take a months-old comic and then slap a FCBD banner on it. You even get to see the old indicia inside. I’m talking to you, DC.

  19. Melle Gee says:

    I usually enjoy Free comic book day & was looking forward to introducing my young sons to comics but when I went to my local comic shop, g***t e****e comics in marietta, I was informed that I could only get 1 free comic BUT if I bought something, then I could get 5 free books. Wow…what a way to spoil fcbd for us & other comic book fans. Needless to say, we did’nt buy a thing & found another shop where free comic book day MEANT free comic book day. Also, my lil guys were so happy that they were able to get the free books they wanted, it forced me to check the bins for back issues of the titles they liked. Now that is what fcbd should be!!!

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