Free Comic Book Day Round-up From a Non-comics Person

I love Free Comic Book Day. It’s the first Saturday of every May here in the States, and has apparently been going for 15 years, judging by the “Celebrating 15 years!” on a lot of the books.

You can go to your local comic book store and pick up one of multiple (seems to vary on different store’s individual policies) sample comic books. I take the family and we always grab a few.

I should clarify that I like the general idea of comics–storytelling with a combination of pictures and words–but I am not wild about comic books themselves. I just don’t understand paying $4 for ~30 pages of content that I can read in five minutes. I prefer collections or graphic novels instead. So FCBD is really the only time that I pick up a comic book.

I ended up with four this year, and I also read one that my husband picked up. The larger, mobile one ended up with several kids-aimed ones (Spongebob, Pokemon, Sonic) that the husband has read to him, so I have no opinions on that lot.

  • Archie (Mark Waid/Fiona Staples)
    I’d heard that they’d rebooted Archie and Riverdale and the lot, making it more modern (and grittier, maybe?) so I picked this one up out of curiosity. I’m not wild about the new art style–everyone looks weird as opposed to more realistic. I was fairly familiar with the original incarnation of this, so I don’t know how I feel about the personality revamps. Jughead seems, hm, kind of like the Riverdale version of Loki, honestly, but not necessarily in a good way. The sample seems like it’s got to be the intro to the new series. Veronica hasn’t shown up yet. Didn’t really like it–or remember it.
  • Avatarex Destroyer of Darkness (Grant Morrison/Jeevan J. Kang)
    This one seems to be based on Indian mythology, which is kind of cool. But it does lead me to another of my complaints about comic books, and that this manages to be all world-building set-up because there’s just not enough space to actually get into the story. It’s made worse because they’ve stuffed two previews into the sample, the other being for 18 Days which seems to be related to Avatarex somehow which is not immediately clear. Interesting concept. I might pick up a collection and see if it was worth reading past the intro if I saw one on the shelves.
  • Doctor Who
    Every year they put out a DW sampler, which includes a few pages from recent adventures with a variety of Doctors. Last year there were three stories; this year there’s four, one each from 9-12. Each doctor gets about 6 pages of story. I will say that this year’s stories were actually interesting (Twelve sounds just like Capaldi, and Nine’s has both Rose and Jack, so I’m already interested) so I might actually pick up a collection or two. I mean, not necessarily of these stories, just DW comics in general. It is interesting, however, that in the end the collections aren’t actually any cheaper than buying the story issue by issue.
  • Mooncop (Tom Gauld)
    I love everything about this one. It’s cute, it takes place on the moon, there’s an animatronic Neil Armstrong that has escaped from the museum, etc. I’m sold. The book doesn’t come out til September, though, alas. I’m smitten enough that I’m also considering picking up his other books. Best of the bunch for me.
  • Spectrum (PJ Haarsma, Alan Tudyk, Sarah Stone)
    Looks like your standard aliens have invaded/resistance fighters story with a bit of a twist. Not enough in the sample for me to determine if it’s something I would like or not. And I guess it’s not actually out? The sample says “#0” on the front and there’s an ad in the back that says to look for “#1” next month. So, I dunno. My comic book store is really a coffee shop/game store so I’m in there quite a bit for other reasons, and if I remember I might look at the issue when it comes out.

Did you guys do Free Comic Book Day? Find anything you liked? Have opinions about the above or comics in general?

My shop also sells back issues for 50 cents, so I picked up an arc of the current IDW nu!Star Trek series. It’s issues #21-#23, an arc called After Darkness. (I picked it up because it was the only complete arc in the box, and I’ve been meaning to look into the Trek comics to see if they’re any good.) It’s an interesting concept–dealing with Pon Farr after the destruction of Vulcan–but I feel like the story was so shallow because they didn’t have time to really do anything with it. I think it could have been done a lot better in a different medium, or with a couple more issues.

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