Sense of Right Alliance Assemble for Free Comic Book Day 2012!!


Hey it’s me, Chadd Derkins, back for a special Free Comic Book Day edition of the blog!  Last year, I walked you through my exciting Free Comic Book Day adventures and a wonderful time was had by all.  This year’s FCBD was way less eventful, but a lot more free books were snagged.  So, for the first time ever, the entire Sense of Right Alliance – Chadd Derkins, Grath Madden, and Jenny Incompetence – have assembled to tell you, faithful reader, about all the stupid garbage we spent an otherwise beautiful Saturday shoveling greedily into our backpacks.


THE NEW 52
DC Comics

Chadd sez:
 I’m sure my fellow commentators are going to do nothing but make fun of this book, which previews DC’s upcoming Trinity War event, and I have to admit that a lot of it is extremely dumb and worthy of mockery.  But I am both ashamed and excited to report that I seem to be emotionally invested in the New DCU enough that The New 52 excited the living fuck out of me.  I actually think it was a bold and inspired move for DC to have the first major crossover event of the relaunched universe focus on new characters and concepts… and as a big fan of the more “magicky” corner of the DCU, I am actually looking forward to this.

Just some of the things we learn in this preview are: Pandora (the mysterious character first introduced in Flashpoint) is the actual mythological box-opening Pandora… The Phantom Stranger, his true identity a secret since the character was introduced, is revealed to be Judas fucking Iscariot… Vibe, Black Adam and The Atom are coming back… and perhaps most fanboner-enducing of all, Steve Trevor and the secret military organization he’s part of have a big room full of crazy DCU artifacts, including the goddamn Haunted Tank:

Look, you guys, I recognize that this is all objectively stupid.  But as a fan of Hellblazer and Shadowpact and even fucking Amethyst Princess of Gemworld, I am really happy to see that mystical stuff is becoming a major focal point of the new DCU.  I realize I’m probably pretty close to being alone in that opinion though, so we’ll see how the rest of the world reacts to the Trinity War.  Me, I can’t wait!

Grath sez:
Every kid who picks this book up is going to wonder why the mysterious hooded lady from Flashpoint is named after internet radio.  Actually, scratch that; I’d be shocked if anyone under the age of 30 read Flashpoint.  Like most of the “new” character concepts in the “DCNU” so far, the Trinity of Sin is a bit underwhelming.  I mean, if you’ve been anxiously awaiting the New 52 version of Judas Iscariot, then this is definitely the book for you.  But if you’re into, I dunno, Superman or something, then, yeah, this wasn’t so great.  At least the art is nice.  Maybe next year we’ll get Animal Man vs. Noah’s Ark.

Jenny sez:
Why is the Wizard Shazam an asshole?  Why is the Question there?  Who’s that lady in the purple hood?  Why is there another goddamn Green Lantern?  Why are the Justice League fighting each other?  When did Steve Trevor stop being such a pushover?  What the fuck is “Trinity War”?  This book certainly won’t tell you.


ASPEN COMICS: WORLDS OF ASPEN 2012
Aspen Comics

Chadd sez:
Whatever the Worlds of Aspen are, I don’t think I want to be a part of them.  The introduction to this comic promises a look at six Aspen Comics titles, but all we get here is one 10-page story (Homecoming), one 5-page story (the truly ridiculous-seeming Idolized), and a whole shitload of ads and pin-ups of half-naked superbabes.  If you’re into masturbating to pictures some guy drew, this is the book for you!

Grath sez:
We get a 10-page preview of Homecoming, a book about a girl with big boobs who returns from outer space, joins the homecoming committee and turns her friends into Witchblade-y rock monsters.  Thankfully, they seem pretty stoked about it.  We also get a shorter preview of Idolized, a story about a super powered girl with big boobs who’s trying to become America’s first “Superhero Idol.”  I liked the art a lot in this one.  Aside from that, we get double-page spread previews of: Soulfire, a book about winged fairy ladies with big boobs, Fathom: Kiani, a book about water-y warrior ladies with big boobs, Charismagic: The Death Princess, a book about a woman with big boobs who rides a dragon, Executive Assistant Assassins, a book about executive assistant assassins with big boobs and Shrugged, a book about… honestly, I can’t quite tell, but it appears to involve a demon, a fairy with big boobs, a punk with big boobs, an unremarkable average woman with big boobs and a cheerleader with big boobs.  Oh, and there’s also a two page centerfold of a steampunky lady with clock gloves and big boobs.  Enjoy this comic, weird 14 year old boy!

The Worlds of Aspen


WITCHBLADE: UNBALANCED PIECES
Top Cow

Grath sez:
I could make another run of boob jokes, but, while they’d be totally warranted, I feel like, writing wise, this stuff is several (hundred?) steps ahead of the stuff in the Aspen sampler.  I mean, maybe that’s just because this book is meatier (it contains a few pages from Artifacts as well as most [all?] of Witchblade #155), or maybe it’s just the fact that I’ve actually been reading and enjoying Artifacts, but either way, I liked this one.  I mean, even clever writing can’t mask the straight up stupidness of gangs of scantily clad biker ladies chasing after magic fountains of youth, but it manages to make a heavy nod at the holy-shit-this-is-dumb element of everything that’s going on while retaining a serious enough tone that you can sorta get invested.  I’m not racing to add this to my monthly shopping list, but I’d probably pick up the trade if I saw it on sale somewhere.  For like $3.  I love comic books?


ATOMIC ROBO
Red 5 Comics

Chadd sez:
 Atomic Robo is the story of an atomic robo, created by Nikola Tesla for some reason, who  fights against a villain named Dr. Dinosaur.  You know, I really do like a lot of these irony-drenched butt-kicking comics about DINOSAURS and ROBOTS and NINJAS and MONKEYS, but as I said in last year’s look  at the similar Super Dinosaur, the existence of Axe Cop sort of renders anything that isn’t Axe Cop unnecessary.  Having said that, this story was enjoyable enough, and Dr. Dinosaur totally stole the show:

   

The book is rounded out with stories pulled from the pages of a couple of other Red 5 titles: NeoZoic (which seems pretty cool) and Bonnie Lass (which seems really lame).

.
.

AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON 0.1
Marvel Comics

Chadd sez:
Not being much of a Marvel guy, a lot of this book was fairly impenetrable  to me.  You would think that, with the Avengers movie being kind of a big deal, the House of Ideas would want to make their free Avengers comic accessible to someone who doesn’t have their Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe handy, but I guess they went a different route.

Here’s what I think happens in this comic book: Spider-Woman, Agent of S.W.O.R.D. (a secret agency so secret that even Captain America has never heard of it, even though his pal Beast is a card-carrying member) is flying around in a jungle searching for space aliens.  Instead, she accidentally stumbles upon an intense game of HeroClix:

Close attack on MODOK with Awesome Andy, I need to roll a 9

She is never heard from again after this encounter and the Avengers spend a bunch of time arguing over whether or not S.W.O.R.D. is stupid, and if it is, should they still rescue Spider-Woman?  They decide to rescue her.  And not a moment too soon, because the bad guys are busy interrogating her about the whereabouts of the “Spaceknight,” because if there’s one thing that will make Avengers movie fans cross over into comic books, it’s veiled references to 20-year-old action figures.  Anyway, what happens next is that a bunch of explosions happen and Iron Man eventually gets super serious and tells everyone that he’s seen the future and holy shit, Ultron is coming back and they’re all fucking dead.  Sounds exciting!  Who is Ultron?

Grath sez:
So DC may have sorta won the day, big-two wise, by default due to printing actual original material, but, actual content wise, this one feels more like a “real comic book.”  That is, of course, because it is, seeing as this is just a straight up reprint of Avengers #12.1, which came out several months ago.  So, yeah, kinda weak, but if you haven’t picked up Avengers, this is at least a fairly accessible intro chapter.  Unfortunately, I don’t think we’re really gonna see the second chapter of this story for a couple of months, so this may be the type of thing that totally fades from people’s minds by the time the actual story it teases starts, but, hey, at least, like, Saint Peter isn’t the bad guy or something.


BAD MEDICINE
Oni Press

Chadd sez:
Bad Medicine
 is a sci-fi/police procedural tale which features in its first issue a headless corpse, invisible people, and a bunch of gobbledygook about morphic fields and retroviruses.  I found it all pretty intriguing, and will probably actually check out issue #2 when it comes out next month.  Good job, Free Comic Book Day!

Oh yeah, this book also features a short story called Wasteland – Down a Hole, which is some kind of old-west-but-it’s-actually-the-future nonsense.  I’ll probably just stick to The Dark Tower for that sort of thing.


BARNABY AND MR. O’MALLEY
Fantagraphics Books

Chadd sez:
This is a collection of old-ass Barnaby comic strips from the 1940’s, written and illustrated by a dude named Crockett Johnson.  The cover art on this book looked painfully familiar to me, which I eventually figured out is because Mr. Johnson later went on to create the awesome Harold and the Purple Crayon series of children’s books.  Like most comic strips from this era, Barnaby is about a depressing bald child who gets into charmingly boring adventures with his dog.  This particular story arc involves a cigar-chomping fairy godfather, a haunted house, and a gang of coffee thieves.  It’s old-fashioned and cute and sure beats the hell out of Close to Home or Get Fuzzy or whatever other garbage you might find on a nowadays funnies page.


SUPERMAN FAMILY ADVENTURES/DC NATION SAMPLER
DC Comics

Chadd sez:
Oh man, if history is to be our guide, Jenny is going to freak the fuck out about Superman Family Adventures.  And with good reason, because it is adorable!  I think my favorite character in this title is going to end up being Perry White:

Rounding out the book are two short pieces based on DC’s animated TV shows.  In spite of Young Justice being an awesome cartoon, DC’s decision of how to preview the comic book spin-off here is baffling.  We basically get a pair of two-page fight sequences with barely any dialogue featuring, respectively, Green Arrow & Artemis and Batman & Robin.  If you didn’t know any better, you’d have no idea what Young Justice is even about by reading this nonsense.  Dumb.

A piece based on Green Lantern: The Animated Series is the only full story in this book, but unfortunately it’s a really stupid story.  Hal Jordan and his recovering Red Lantern pal Razer are pulled into a pocket dimension, where they encounter a villain who appears to be from the same species of inter-dimensional imp as longtime Superman foil Mr. Mxyzptlk.  The main thing I learned from this story is that the artist, David Brizuela, appears to have no idea what a velociraptor is:

“It’s some kind of space gargoyle, right?”

Jenny sez:
I’m pretty sure I’ve talked at great length on this blog and to everyone I know about how much I love Baltazar (and also Franc) but the Green Lantern story isn’t really doing anything for me.  I mean, I feel like the two of them should be able to write really excellent GL stories… but this is really boring.  Hal Jordan does ride on a big green Narwhal though, that’s pretty cool.

There’s also like two pages of Young Justice previews; they’re pretty boring.

I hate Superman.  I hate Superman a lot; I think he’s dumb.  There is not a single book I’m looking forward to more this year than Superman Family Adventures #1. Not even Batwoman #12. I’ve read this preview of it before.. but it’s still totally awesome!  Way better than all that other crap.

Grath sez:
This smattering of all ages samplings from DC ranges from cute (Superman) to good (Green Lantern) to inconclusive (Young Justice).  The Green Lantern portion made me yearn for a non-3D-computer-animated television version, but I’ll take the writing in the TV show over this.  I love Young Justice, but the action heavy and somewhat tough to follow 5 page preview didn’t really tempt me to pick up the comic.  Superman Family Adventures is far too adorable for me.


BONGO COMICS FREE-FOR-ALL/SPONGEBOB COMICS
Bongo Comics

Chadd sez:
Even when I liked The Simpsons, I was never a huge fan of the spin-off comics – there was just something lost in the transition to the printed page.  The story here is no exception; it’s bland, unfunny and boring.  If I wanted that, I’d just watch an episode of the show from the past 15 years!

In a shocking turn of events, Spongebob fares a little bit better, mostly because his story features a really fun silver age Aquaman parody:

But what steals the show in this book is a short autobiographical story from Sergio Aragones.  I’d already read this story when it appeared in Sergio Aragones Funnies (which you should definitely check out if you have even a passing interest in this dude), but Aragones stuff is super-detailed enough that it’s always good for a second read.

Grath sez:
 I’m not a SpongeBob, but the Aquaman parody and weird looking back-up strip were both better than I expected.  The Bongo half featured a Simpsons story that, while not hilarious, was certainly in line with the show, but the highlight was definitely the Sergio Aragones story, which detailed his first paying art gig, which was, of course, helping his elementary schoolmates cheat on their homework by doing their drawings for them.  I like it!

..


BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER / THE GUILD
Dark Horse Comics

Chadd sez:
 
I’m not the hugest fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or of the Aliens franchise, but I like them both okay, and more important, I’m a total sucker for crazy, ill-conceived crossovers.  So I was all set to enjoy this book, but I mostly found myself bored and confused.  The Aliens only briefly appear, and most of the rest of the time is dedicated to Spike’s army of talking cartoon termites.  Wait… Spike has an army of talking cartoon termites??  I used to watch this TV show fairly regularly and I don’t remember that at all!

Also in this book is The Guild, a story about a group of online MMORPG’ers who try to have a real life meet up at the beach, which goes comically wrong.  The Guild, apparently based on a webseries, is awful and self-conscious and unfunny in the same way stuff like Community is awful and self-conscious and unfunny.  I hope I never have to experience anything like it ever again.

Finally, we have the second part of the Alabaster Shelter story that began in the Star Wars/Serenity book (scroll down).  It was pretty depressing.

Jenny sez:
Felicia Day wrote the best FCBD story by far.  It’s got everything the Buffy side of the book doesn’t have: character interaction, buffalo-style excitement, adventure, characters with distinct facial features.  The Guild spends a day at the beach.  It’s pretty fun

The Buffy Side of the book has Buffy trying to kill a bug vampire on Spike’s extradimensional airship powered by giant bugs.  They’re all very afraid of bug spray.

Grath sez:
If you REALLY like Buffy or you REALLY like Aliens, the 8 page Buffy vs. Aliens story might give you some sort of explosive fan boner.  Me?  I just like Buffy and Aliens.  I also might have gotten a little more excitedif Buffy had actually, uh, versused the Aliens alien for more than like 3 panels.  Not to mention the fact that Joss Whedon-y dialogue sounds about 4,000 times douchier (“We’re gonna need a bigger can!”) in print than it does coming out of actual mouths.  The Guild portion made me feel like an 80 year old man, but, then again, I’ve never seen this “show” or massively-multplayer-online-role-played.  I have had friends, though, and I can safely say I don’t want any of these people to be my friends.  Part II of the Alabaster: Shelter preview (yeah, don’t worry, I don’t know what the fuck it is, either) was the best part of this book. I was like “Wait, Part two?!” until I opened up…


STAR WARS/SERENITY
Dark Horse Comics

Grath sez:
…where I found part one.  Fortunately, Part 1 of the Alabaster: Shelter (seriously, who the fuck is Alabaster?) was not the best part of this book.  I’m a pretty staunch Star Wars hater, so reading a cutesy tale about Han and Chewy (they go for “Chewie” in here, but I’m sticking with what feels right) felt like homework. I  did appreciate the “we’re rouge traders/no, my ship’s not for sale” connective tissue between this one and the Serenity story, which was actually pretty fun and remarkably in line with the tone of the show.  When I first put the book down, I was like “Hey, maybe I’ll buy some Serenity comics,” but now that I’ve typed this paragraph, I think I may have come to my senses.  Take that, Free Comic Book Day.

Chadd sez:
I was prepared to be full-on meh about this book, but the concept here actually turned out to be pretty clever and adorable!  Zack Whedon (who I assume is either a sibling or really crappy pen name of Joss Whedon) essentially tells the same exact story twice, once featuring hard boiled intergalactic smuggler Han Solo and his beloved ship the Millenium Falcon, and once featuring hard boiled intergalactic smuggler Johnny Firefly (I forget the character’s name) and his beloved ship Serenity.  The Firefly story is the better of the two, especially in terms of its gorgeous art.  The Star Wars tale is fun too, although all I could think about as I read it were the weeks of the artist’s life during which his job was to draw crappy pictures of Harrison Ford’s face over and over again.

Seriously, wouldn’t you kill yourself?

Rounding out this book is a third story called Alabaster Shelter, which features no hard boiled intergalactic smugglers, and was seemingly included for the sole purpose of fucking up the book’s cool theme.  Lame.

Jenny sez:
There’s a Zack Whedon?  He wrote the Star Wars side.  It’s mostly about him trying to fill Chewbacca’s word bubbles with letters like H and G.  Hey!  He also wrote the Serenity side, but that one is pretty good.  It’s mostly Mal talking until someone saves him from getting mugged.  It was really fun and didn’t need a whole lot of context and made me rewatch Firefly.

The two-sided comic book thing is really, deeply annoying to me.  I hate it.  I hate it so much.  Almost as much as Superman.


BURT WARD: BOY WONDER/WRATH OF THE TITANS CLASSIC
BlueWater Comics

Grath sez:
It’s hard to believe that Burt Ward: Boy Wonder exists.  Full of almost Bat-signals, almost Bat-logos and almost Bat-references (“Cape Crusader”), this story is, of course, mostly about dogs.  A couple of Burt’s rescue pups (ATTENTION: BURT WARD CARES ABOUT DOGS!!) accidentally bust through a portal that leads them all to the “planet” Pluto and the year 2065, where everyone speaks English and dresses like Robin.  But not before we get a lesson on a famous filming locale in Hollywood.  If you are a rescue dog enthusiast who also happens to be about as old as my dad, you are going to enjoy the shit out of this book.  The Wrath of the Titans side, with it’s one-page-of-text/one-page-of-panels layout felt like a Tolstoy novel in comparison with what I’ve read so far.  That turned out to be not such a good thing.


COMIC SHOP NEWS FCBD SPECIAL
Comic Shop News

Chadd sez:
Hey, this was free and I got it on Free Comic Book Day, so I’m including it.  This special edition of the comic shop freebie is meant as a guide for new readers just stepping into this crazy world of funnybooks.  While this kinda thing can sometimes seem a bit patronizing (“If you enjoy the ABC series Once Upon a Time, then you’ll love Fables“) but overall it’s a pretty good list.  Included are the top ten: comic books, all ages comic books, classic reprints, comics by famous people, non-superhero graphic novels, and manga.  I think the comic book industry is a little naive to assume that droves of n00bz are flooding the shops on Free Comic Book Day, but if they are, this could definitely be a helpful guide.  I was mostly just disappointed that this edition of the Comic Shop News didn’t include the latest edition of Spider-Man’s newspaper strip!


DINOSAURS VS. ALIENS
Liquid Comics

Chadd sez:
This is pretty bizarre: a collabo between Grant Morrison and Barry fucking Sonnenfeld, published by a company I’ve never heard of in my life, telling what seems to be a fairly minimalist tale of, well, dinosaurs versing aliens.  Text pieces by the creators reveal that this is the result of a calculated move by Sonnenfeld to create a comic book franchise so that he could immediately make a film adaptation of it.  So keep an eye out for Dinosaurs vs. Aliens: The Motion Picture sometime in the next couple of years, I guess?  Anyway, a preview of the graphic novel takes up a mere 8 pages in this deceptively thick-ass book.  Then we have page after page after page of (admittedly beautiful) concept art of aliens and dinosaurs and more aliens and some more dinosaurs, rounded out by Morrison’s script for the same 8 pages we just read.  This is all pretty weird, but don’t mistake my tone for that of a guy who isn’t actually really fucking stoked for Dinosaurs vs. Aliens.  I mean, just look at this:


DONALD DUCK FAMILY
Fantagraphics Books

Chadd sez:
Objectively speaking, this has gotta be the “best” Free Comic Book Day offering in terms of actual content, since it includes a bunch of truly classic material from one of the greatest comic book creators to ever live.  If you haven’t already figured it out, I’m a huge fan of Disney duck comics, and I love these Carl Barks reprints that Fantagraphics is starting to release.  This preview book kicks off with The Round Money Bin, an Uncle Scrooge tale which features the first appearance of his number one dime:

Following this is the hilarious Donald Duck’s Worst Nightmare, as well as a series of one-page gags.  All classic stuff, and a decent starting point for someone new to Barks or duck comics in general.

Even though I own or plan to own the Fantagraphics reprints from which these stories are pulled, this freebie’s beautiful cover art means it will probably end up being the only FCBD book I don’t end up throwing right into the trash as soon as I’m done writing this article.

Grath sez:
I realize “bang for your buck” doesn’t really work on Free Comic Book Day, but this book gives you more whatever-for-your-whatever than any of the other books I’ve read, with 32 straight pages of actual comic strips.  I mean, they’re all Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge reprints, so that sort of bores me to death, but at least I didn’t fall asleep.  I think I mean that as a compliment?


FINDING GOSSAMYR/THE STUFF OF LEGEND
Th3rd World Studios

Chadd sez:
When Grath threw this book at me, visibly offended by the circumstances that led to him having to hold it in his hands for even one second, I was prepared to write it off as well.  But it turned out to be one of the most enjoyable books in my haul!

Finding Gossamyr seems to be about a genius kid who discovers a mathematical proof which opens a door to some kind of crazy fantasy world.  The story’s Disneyesque visuals are absolutely gorgeous (although I wish they weren’t colored in such a computery fashion), and the little snippet of story here has me salivating for more.

The book’s flip side, The Stuff of Legend, might be even better.  Reading like a fucked-up adult version of Toy Story mixed with a little bit of Fables, this follows a group of playthings who seem to be involved in an ongoing bloody war with the Boogeyman.

So I’ve gone from never having heard of Th3rd World Studios to pretty much wanting to read every single thing they’ve ever published.  Is that a good thing or a bad thing?


GRAPHIC ELVIS
Liquid Comics

Chadd sez:
This has to be the weirdest goddamn book in this year’s Free Comic Book Day lineup.  Or maybe the weirdest comic book ever.  Mainly a collection of historical pull-quotes about Elvis paired with pin-up art by several comic book illustrators, the main feature here is a short story written by Stan fucking Lee.  While Stan Lee “presents” a lot of comics these days, I wholeheartedly believe he actually wrote every word of this one, because it reads like the ramblings of a batshit insane 7th grader.  It is a teamup between Elvis and St. Peter, as the King of Rock and Roll is asked to justify his entrance through the Pearly Gates of Heaven.  And I swear to god, it’s ten times crazier than the description makes it sound.  Spoiler alert:

Ahh, so that’s why Elvis is known as “Elvis the Legendary.”  I’ve always wondered!  I think it should go without saying that I fucking love this comic.  Thank you for existing Stan Lee, you weird old lunatic.  Till the end of time.


THE HYPERNATURALS
Boom!

Chadd sez:
The Hypernaturals are a team of government-sanctioned superheroes living in a crazy sci-fi future, in this cosmic-y book by veteran cosmic-y dudes Abnett and Lanning.  I thought the book was really fun, pretty, and exciting.  More importantly, I found it refreshingly easy to follow compared to how confusing I find a lot of stuff like this to be.  I’ll definitely be checking this series out when it debuts in July.


IMAGE COMICS FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2012
Image Comics

Chadd sez:
 
I am bummed to report that not a single thing in this Image previews book grabbed me at all.  I think it was a mistake for Image to try to cram so much in here (sneak peeks at six upcoming titles), because the result is that each individual story is way too short to get any kind of feel for what it’s all about.  Some of these books will probably be awesome, but after reading this I honestly have no idea which ones.

Grath sez:
Well, Revival definitely did it for me, so I’ll pick that up when it comes out in July.  I’m a little suspicious of the weird white alien element, but it was dark and sorta creepy and engaging in the way that most of the Image stuff I read is.  G-Man was cute.  Guarding the Globe and It Girl and the Atomics suffered from the no-point-of-reference problem I’ll have with a million of these free books.  I’m not a crime/let’s-do-a-something-that-feels-like-a-lost-thriller-from-the-late-1980’s comic guy, but Near Death seemed pretty good for one of those.  I don’t know what Crime and Terror was other than not for me.


MARVEL POINT ONE
Marvel Comics

Chadd sez:
This Marvel preview book is actually from late 2011, but I guess now it’s been re-purposed as a Free Comic Book Day giveaway.  Inside are previews for a bunch of stuff “coming in 2012,” including Scarlet SpiderThe DefendersAvengers vs. X-Men, and some other stuff I didn’t recognize.  You guys, I understood barely any of this, and I enjoyed even less.  One thing I did kinda like was the wraparound story, which is about some thieves stealing observations from the database of The Watcher (who I was previously only familiar with from What If comics).  This book may have been exciting for Marvel fans who were already invested in all of this stuff, but it sure didn’t entice me to check any of it out.


MEGA MAN
Archie Comics

Chadd sez:
This origin story is pulled from the first arc of Archie’s Mega Man comic book.  I read that arc and found it to be far more entertaining than it has a right to be, considering the fact that it’s basically just a dramatized retelling of the “plot” of the first Mega Man NES game.  I can’t imagine this title is going to have much room to grow, but if you’re a fan of the video game at all, then the first arc (now available in trade paperback form) is definitely worth checking out.

Grath sez:
Well, this was a Mega Man comic, so it had that working against it, but at least it was a pretty straight up, full length origin story.  I mean, if you’re gonna like a Mega Man comic, I’m guessing this is what you’re gonna like. Did you guys know that Mega Man is just a robot?  And they kinda just drop that on you like halfway in.  I always thought he was a kid or a guy.  This news kinda fucked my shit up.


MOOMIN/ANNA & FROGA
Drawn & Quarterly

Chadd sez:
Oh my god, what the fuck is Moomin?  These adventures of some creepy hippo monsters (which almost certainly originate from some godforsaken European hellhole) somehow finds the perfect mixture of melancholy, weirdness and nonsense to instill a deep feeling of existential dread in the reader.  I hate Moomin.  They make me feel dirty and sad and afraid in a way I can’t quite place my finger on.  Here’s just a small sampling of the horrors that await within these pages:

      

Sorry for the poor quality of those pictures – I had to physically photograph the comic book, since I couldn’t find anyone online who had scanned it (probably for fear of disturbing the slumber of some long-dormant elder god).  But jesus fucking christ, right???  As I read these strips, I kept wondering who could be responsible for unleashing these nightmares into the world, and in the middle of the book I found my answer:

Ugh.  Just fucking look at them.  Is it even remotely possible that these people haven’t been responsible for the Girl Next Door-style abduction of children?  Fuck them.  I hope they’re long dead, and if not, they should be exterminated as soon as possible.

This book’s second feature is Anna & Froga which, while not quite as disturbing as Moomin, still sucks.  And the character design is such a shameless Busytown rip-off that it’s almost as if the artist wants to incur the wrath of Richard Scarry’s incorporeal spectre:

Fuck this book, and everyone involved in its unholy creation.


MOUSE GUARD/LABYRINTH AND OTHER STORIES
Archaia Entertainment

Chadd sez:
Archaia Entertainment made a big splash this Free Comic Book day by offering a beautiful hardcover anthology of their all-ages titles, designed to resemble a children’s book.  Well as it turns out, Achaia’s secret agenda was to make a bunch of children slit their wrists, because holy cow is this shit depressing.  As an adult who already figured out long ago that life is  meaningless and bleak, however, I enjoyed the hell out of this.  Mouse Guard (not to be confused with Mice Templar, even though I confuse them all the time) presents a story of courtship complete with wolf murder.  A tale from the Labyrinth universe teaches us that for the ugly, love is unattainable except through self-mutilation.  Rust treats us to 8 pages of a little boy writing a letter to his dead father.  Cow Boy is about how our families exist only to give us purpose through humiliation and vengeance.  It’s all a lot to take in, but the end result is a strangely charming blurring of the lines between whimsy and despair, and if you think about it, what could possibly be a more perfect description of childhood?

Grath sez:
The belle of the free comic ball, this 40+ page children’s bookish hardcover features six original stories that preview/tease six upcoming/available books.  Mouse Guard: The Tale of Baldwin the Brave involved an obviously adorable evening of mouse puppet theater.  Labyrinth: Hoggle and the Worm made me feel super depressed and alone.  Thanks a lot, Jim Henson.  Steps of the Dapper Men was super nonsensical and confusingly uplifting.  I kind of loved it.  Rust: Oswald’s Letter and its “Dear Dad, are you dead?  P.S. – I met a kid with a jetpack” story pushed me another couple of inches closer to suicide.  Man, I’ve never read anything from Archaia before, but lots of these motherfuckers seem pretty sad!  I mean, even the Mouse Guard thing, which was a cutesy guy-gets-the-girl-and-the-respect-of-his-town story had this weird the-only-reason-this-is-beautiful-is-because-WE-ARE-ALONE-AND-DEATH-IS-UNAVOIDABLE undertone.  I dunno, maybe I’m just sad.  Anyway… Cursed Pirate Girl: Ramblings From An Old Sea Dog Who Likes To Be Called Alice was literally almost impossible to read.  Not “Oh, this is fucking terrible!” impossible, but more like “Okay, how do you even try to read a panel that’s roughly one square centimeter?” It may have been great, but I couldn’t really tell you.  Cow Boy: Long While Ago went a long way towards convincing me that life may still be worth living.  Kid cowboy Boyd Linney, who’s on a mission to hunt down his entire outlaw family, is pretty much my new favorite guy.  While most of this year’s “adorable” offerings left me floating somewhere between bored and annoyed, this was cute and funny without being too overbearing in either department.  While most everything else in this book seemed a bit higher concept, or, at the very least, “heavier,” this is probably the first out of the six featured that I’d try to get a hold of.  I didn’t expect to like a lot of this, but this was, pretty easily, the best book on the day.


OVERSTREET’S GREATEST HORROR COMICS OF ALL TIME
Overstreet

Chadd sez:
It isn’t even a comic book, but this magazine-esque exploration of the history of horror comics will probably get the most mileage of any of these FCBD books, due to it being perfect bathroom reading.  I’ve only flipped through it so far (I’m still working on the latest issue of Game Informer during my toilet time), but the articles in here seem to cover everything from Swamp Thing to EC Comics to The Walking Dead, so I’m excited to dive into this book.  Maybe I’ll get White Castle for dinner tonight.


PEANUTS/ADVENTURE TIME
Boom!

Chadd sez:
The Peanuts half of this book features a nice mixture of classic Schultz strips and the current Peanuts material that Boom is publishing.  As a longtime fan of the franchise, I have to say I’m really, really impressed by how well the new stuff honors the spirit of Schultz’s work.

I read the first issue of Boom’s Adventure Time comic book solely because it was written by the brilliant Ryan North of Dinosaur Comics.  When I found myself laughing out loud at the issue several times (which, like, never happens), I decided to DVR several episodes of the TV show it’s based on.  I made it 10 minutes into the first episode before I turned it off and erased them all.  I didn’t find it funny at all, largely due to the voices, which I guess just didn’t live up to what I imagined in my head as I read the comic.  Bummer.  Anyway, the Adventure Time stuff here is  just as awesome as the issue I read, including the stuff that Ryan North had nothing to do with.  Whether or not you’re a fan of the TV show, this comic is definitely worth checking out.

Grath sez:
If you like the Peanuts, there’s a nice thick chunk of super Peanuts-y Peanuts strips.  If you haven’t noticed already, I basically hate everything.  So I was definitely surprised by how much I liked all three segments of the Adventure Time portion.  This is a children’s television program?  Are they letting kids smoke weed now or something?  If so, and this is what’s coming as a result, I support that decision.  This shit was pretty weird and sort of hilarious.  More weed for children, I say!


YO GABBA GABBA!
Oni Press

Grath sez:
I may have to reconsider my position on children smoking weed, because this shit is just terrifying.

Chadd sez:
The best thing about the Yo Gabba Gabba! TV show is the music.  Take that away and what you’re left with mostly seems like an exercise in pure horror.  Especially horrible is the artist’s rendition of the show’s live action host dude:

Yo Gabba Gaaaaaaaahhhhhhh!!!!!!

I will say that enjoyed the art on the cover and in the last story in the book, due to the use of Ben-Day dots, which I sorely miss seeing in comic books.

So yeah, that looked pretty, but besides that this book is pretty insane and not for me.


THE SMURFS/DISNEY FAIRIES
Papercutz

Grath sez:
Holy shit, this one was something.  The first story in here is a Tinkerbell one and details how the lady fairies of Never Land, uh, “receive their pixie dust” from Terrence, the “pixie dust” dispensing dude fairy.  Example:

Example 2:

Yikes.

The second weirdest story in here is a bit from Ernest & Rebecca, a comic about a little girl and her microbe best friend that’s uber-heavy on the “I wish mommy and daddy didn’t fight so much!”  This is probably the best looking thing in here, but, fuck, is it awkward.  Past that we get
a Smurfs-and-a-bird vs. Gargamel story as well as Dance Class, which is, so sadly, fucking exactly what it sounds like.  Oh and another Tinkerbell story, but this one doesn’t have anything to do with ejaculating, so who cares?

Chadd sez:
I made it a point not to read any of Grath or Jenny’s reviews until after I’d written mine, so as to not get tainted by outside opinions.  However, Grath drunkenly rambled to me about this Tinkerbell story before I’d read it, so the question is: Would I have noticed that this Tinkerbell story is all about semen if he hadn’t pointed it out to me?  I think the answer is that I would have, because it’s just fucking obviously about this one dude cumming on everybody’s faces!  What the fuck?

The Smurfs story is great, and brought back fond memories of reading Smurfs comics as a child.  Mostly, I’m just glad the Smurfs were paired with a worthy franchise like the Disney Fairies, as opposed to last year when they had to share the bill with some no-name bullshit like Geronimo Stilton.

There’s some other crap in this book too (Ernest and Rebecca and Dance Class), but none of it was interesting enough to even worth writing about.


SONIC THE HEDGEHOG
Archie Comics 

Chadd sez:
Jesus Christ!  Who would have guessed that fucking Sonic the Hedgehog comic books would have such convoluted continuity???  This shit was seriously more confusing than Batman RIP; from what I can deduce, this story takes place in the aftermath of a Crisis-esque universe-rebooting incident called Genesis (har har).  Sonic runs around and meets a bunch of characters I’ve never heard of, and there are seriously like half a dozen “See Issue #whatever” editor’s notes.  Come on, guys, isn’t this supposed to be a promotional item designed for 10-year-olds who haven’t read Sonic comics before?  I can’t imagine this madness is going to attract any new readers to the series.  And then after the story, as if the laugh at our pain, Archie Comics  includes a little recap page that tells us all the stuff we should have known before diving into this bullshit!  Fuck you.  Oh, and there are also FIVE short prose stories at the end of this book, each one spotlighting a supporting character in the STHU.  So if you’ve been salivating for a more fleshed out exploration of Bunnie D’Coolette or Rotor Walrus, you’re in luck, weirdo!  I didn’t read them.

Grath sez:
What am I doing with my life?  Like if I could go back in time and pinpoint the moment or event that set me on this path that has me spending a spring Saturday running around Manhattan picking up free copies of Sonic the Hedgehog comic books and then going home and actually READING them, everything could be so, so different.  This particular tale paints a portrait of a shockingly complex Sonic the Hedgehog universe that appears to have been recently reset by Dr. Eggman/Robotnik/whatever.  I thought I was almost enjoying this, but then I literally fell asleep twice about halfway through. So, yeah, maybe not.


SPIDER-MAN SEASON ONE
Marvel Comics

Chadd sez:
Does the world really need another retelling of Spider-Man’s origin story?  Obviously not, and especially not one as shitty-seeming as this one.  I mean, I guess I shouldn’t judge it yet, considering this preview doesn’t even get up to the point where Peter Parker turns into Spider-Man.  Way to not include Spider-Man in your Spider-Man book, Marvel!  Bleh.

Grath sez:
The first chapter of a graphic novel that tells the original story of Peter Parker, an outcast and science geek who lives with his Aunt and Uncle in Queens, New York.  While attending an exhibition at the New York Hall of Science, Peter is bitten by, of all things, an irradiated spider.  He immediately flees the building only to discover that he’s now endowed with strange, almost spider-like, powers.  How will this scrawny nerd learn to live with super strength and super senses?  Seems like an awful lot of responsibility for a high schooler.  The book seems to insinuate that he’ll go on to become a famous mixed martial artist, so that’s pretty exciting.  The real scene stealer in this first chapter is Ben, the wacky, Vulture chasing uncle.  I have no idea where this story is headed, but I hope that guy sticks around for awhile.


TOP SHELF KIDS CLUB
Top Shelf

Chadd sez:
As Free Comic Book Day was approaching, a friend of mine said, “I can’t wait to see what Owly is up to!”  Haha, people only read your comics one time a year, Owly, you stupid piece of shit!  As for me, I’ve never actually read one of these Top Shelf Kids Clubs books before, and frankly, I wish I hadn’t this time.  I feel like it’s harder than it looks to achieve that perfect mix of cuteness and weirdness that makes things like Spongebob Squarepants work – if you try too hard to find that formula, and fail, you just end up with the most obnoxious, cloying bullshit in the world.  Every single story in this book falls in that category.  I hate it all so much.  Fuck you, Owly.


TRANSFORMERS REGENERATION ONE
IDW

Chadd sez:
Well, this comic book is certainly  full of robots screaming at each other, but Sam Witwicky is nowhere to be seen, so as far as I’m concerned, this isn’t the REAL Transformers.


ULTIMATE DEATH OF SPIDER-MAN
Marvel Comics

Chadd sez:
I don’t know if Marvel repurposed these books as FCBD titles, or if the shop just decided to give them away, but for some reason I got Ultimate Spider-Man #160 as well as 4 (of 6) issues of Ultimate Fallout with the rest of my freebies.  Ultimate Spider-Man has been consistently awesome since the beginning and this issue is no exception, even if Peter’s death at the hands of Green Goblin (spoiler alert!) was a little bit anticlimactic and unceremonious.


ULTIMATE FALLOUT
Marvel Comics

Chadd sez:
Spider-Man is dead and everyone in the Ultimate Marvel universe is really, really sad about it.  I’m not ashamed to admit that I got a little choked up several times during the course of these four issues.  Now I guess I gotta seek out and read the final two installments of this miniseries?  God damn it.



VALIANT 2012

Valiant Comics

Chadd sez:
Longtime readers might recall that last Free Comic Book Day, I purchased an X-O Manowar trade paperback.  It might not surprise you to hear that I still have not read that trade paperback and, in fact, I’ve never read a Valiant superhero comic in my life.  So this is all totally new to me.  The X-O Manowar story in this book shows promise, but I think it’s a really strange choice for Valiant to kick off their new superhero universe with a story set in 402 AD.  Harbinger is a little more current, being largely set in 1951, and it’s the more interesting of the two stories.  I hope this stuff takes off because, as I said last year, I have a bizarre affection for Valiant Comics (especially considering I’ve never read any of them!), but this seems to me like a risky way to start.

Grath sez:
Unfortunately, this 32-page comic only contains 10 pages of, um, comics.  The rest is all interviews and ads for the upcoming relaunch of the Valiant line.  I don’t remember any of this shit, so it’s all fresh for me. The X-O Manowar preview (6 pages) was a couple pages short of grabbing me, but the Harbinger preview (4 pages), with its weird bleeding monk guy, has me at least somewhat mulling over purchasing issue one when it comes out in June.


VOLTRON FORCE: SHELTER FROM THE STORM
Viz Media

Grath sez:
I grew up with Voltron.  I loved Voltron.  I mean, I’m not sure what’s not to love about robot lions that turn into a weird robot lion robot guy with a giant sword.  That said, I just said everything I remember about Voltron.  So, yeah, the fact that the thing that I remember totally doesn’t happen in this is definitely a bit of a bummer, but this was still pretty fun.  I’m not sure if the audience for this is little kids or 40 year old kids, but it definitely seems accessible to either.  I do wish they’d have included the text piece on the back cover somewhere ahead of the story, as it would’ve cleared up some of my “wait, where are the other two lion robot things?” confusion.


WEEKLY WORLD NEWS
Weekly World News

For some reason Manhattan Comics, New York City’s shittiest comic book store, was giving out copies of the Weekly World News on Free Comic Book Day.  I used to actually have a subscription to the Weekly World News back in college, and looked forward to it every week.  In the years since we’ve seen Bat-Boy: The Musical and other such things, and the newspaper seems to have gotten a lot more self-conscious in its wackiness, which to me makes it significantly less funny.  Or maybe I’ve just outgrown it?  I don’t know, but sadly I found myself more bored than amused while poring through these articles about space aliens and sea serpents.  Also, it appears that the Bigfoot crossword puzzle is no longer a feature in the paper!  It’s not the Weekly World News without the Bigfoot!


ZOMBIE KID
Antarctic Press

Chadd sez:
I got through about ten pages of this book’s strangely familiar art style before I figured out that this is supposed to be a parody of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series of children’s books.  You probably could call me an idiot for not deducing that just from the cover, but considering that I’ve never read those books (I am an adult, see??), I’m pretty proud of myself for figuring it out at all.  This begs the question: why would anybody make a black and white indie comic parody of a series of books for babies??  Who is your intended audience for this, Antarctic Press??  Anyway, the next thing I noticed was that Zombie Kid sucks.  You might think I’m unqualified to make such a judgment, being unfamiliar with the source material, but you are talking to a guy who counted Spaceballs among my favorite movies years before I’d seen a single Star Wars film.  So yeah, this sucks and is stupid.

THOR HEROCLIX
WizKids

Jenny sez:
You know who’s some kind of Superhero?  Thor.  After going to, and subsequently losing at, Friday night Heroclix the folks there were nice enough to hand out Thor to everyone before the Free Comic Book Day Madness.  According to some people he’s a really good Thor, and you know, I’m sure he is… I don’t know when I’ll be able to play him though.  I can say this for certain though: Rainbow Dash will look really good on this dial.

That’s about it!  Before I wrap this up, I want to take a minute to thank Jenny Incompetence for keeping this blog active while I’ve been off being a combination of busy and lazy.  I’m sure she will continue to be awesome on here, but I will also be writing more stuff for the Sense of Right Alliance again, so don’t give up on me yet, true believers!  Excelsior, or whatever.

One response to “Sense of Right Alliance Assemble for Free Comic Book Day 2012!!

  1. Pingback: My Year in Movies, 2013 | The Sense of Right Alliance

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s