It’s coming up fast: Free Comic Book Day on May 5th– the one day of the year when comic shops across the nation offer FREE Comic Books to their customers, many who, hopefully, are venturing into their stores for the first time and becoming regulars. Most of those stores will also be holding sales and various events to make this the best day for comics fans for the entire year!
So, for those who are familiar with our long-running Bullet Reviews, you’ll get what I’m doing here. For those who aren’t and are just checking out some of the great titles being offered on FCBD let me clue you in: I’ll be doing a series of Bullet Previews which will feature a handful of titles being offered. These will be quick shot reviews giving an idea of what each book has to offer as well as my thoughts on a few of them. If there are previews available I’ll be linking to those as well as the Free Comic Book Day website as the fine folks there have been very nice in allowing us to share their previews and interviews with you all.
So, let’s shop the chatter and take a look at the first batch!
ANIMAL PLANET: WORLD’S MOST DANGEROUS ANIMALS (Silver Dragon Books)
I’m not very familiar with with Zenescope Entertainment’s imprint Silver Dragon Books but this offering was more entertaining that I expected it to be. It’s basically like the ‘I survived an animal attack’ shows you see on Animal Planet. In this preview of the TPB available on their website, we get two of the ten stories that will be told in that TPB. The format is interesting, first you get the animal in question, here we have Grizzly Bears and Saltwater Crocs, including some vital stats even the number of human attacks per year. Following this introduction is a story of one of these attacks written in a way that you can’t help but hear the narration style Animal Planet uses on their shows.
Certainly not something for the superhero fan but this is a book fans of Animal Planet should check out as well as those of us who like something different.
There is also a sneak peek for Jurassic Strike Force 5, which also has a FCBD release available in many areas. Think Super Dinosaur if he were a team of evil dinosaurs! If the humanoid T-Rex in a battle suit doesn’t grab you then you have issues. I’m going to be looking out for this one!
BUFFY/THE GUILD FLIPBOOK (Dark Horse)
The fine folks at Dark Horse are offering more than one book this year and each features a little more than advertised!
This one, however, was the one I was looking forward to having just recently discovered the genius of Felicia Day and her The Guild webseries. In this adventure the Guildies, a group of friends who play the same online game similar to World Of Warcraft, are trying to agree on a place to hold a Guild meeting and, true to form, are unable to come to a consensus the decision is made to have a battle to the death within the game. The survivor decides where to go. From there more hilarity ensues that fans of the Webshow will no doubt enjoy. I myself found myself hearing the characters voices and mannerisms while reading this. I know I’ll be looking forward to the comics when they come out!
On the Buffy side of things, Buffy and Spike are in space, I’m sure there is a really good explanation for this in the Season 9 series, and is dealing with a zombie-vampire-space bug thingie. It’s the kind of weirdness that you simply have to use for your FCBD offering because this will get people thinking about picking up the regular books!
Finally, part 2 of the Alabaster story, part 1 is in the Star Wars/Serenity book below, which offers a taste of the Caitlin R. Kiernan and Steve Lieber series Alabaster: Wolves which is available in finer shops everywhere!
OVERSTREET’S COMIC BOOK MARKETPLACE (Gemstone Publishing)
Not only is it a great and exciting time to be a comic book fan, but it’s an even better time to be a fan of horror comics as is The Walking Dead to revived classics like Eerie and Creepy to the all time legends from EC Comics, Tales From The Crypt and The Haunt Of Fear for example, this book covers all the bases including the six most notable horror comics of all time, the top ten most valuable horror comics, essays on the earliest horror comics and the historic moment when William Gaines, father of Tales From The Crypt, opened his personal comics vault to release his private collection of EC Comics. Along with these and other great stories, we are treated with interviews, horror faves of industry insiders and much, much more! This is one that anyone who loves horror comics, especially the all time greats like EC and the Creepy family, should look for. While it isn’t as good as the EC Sampler we had back in 2008 it’s a great introduction to some really great material that really doesn’t get the attention it deserves!
SMURFS & DISNEY FAIRIES Feat. TINKER BELL (Papercutz)
Another book that has more than advertised! Papercutz has jammed this book full of all ages stories that certainly cater to little girls.
First up is a Smurfs adventure along with some footnotes giving readers and fans some suggestions of other Smurf books to look for at their local comic shop. The timeless charm of the Smurfs is very much on display in this story featuring a very interesting bird.
Also contained in these pages are not one, but two adventures of Tinker Bell sure to please fans of the Disney Fairies! In one adventure we learn how the Fairies get their fairy dust, and it’s more than just walking up and taking some! The second story features some fun back and forth between Tink and one of the more arrogant Fairies who certainly gets put in her place.
The final two stories feature a group of girls, and one boy, who are learning to be ballerinas. Not something for everyone but something the young dancers in your life should enjoy and rounding out this offering is a cute story of Ernest & Rebecca. Rebecca is a young girl who while still having the fun all kids should have, also has to try to comprehend why her mom and dad constantly fight. We meet Ernest while she is out hunting frogs. Ernest is a microbe, basically a germ, that can pretty much do anything. Think Calvin & Hobbes is Hobbes was a squishy green booger. Same humor but certainly a lot of heart when dealing with a young child’s way of seeing fighting parents.
STAR WARS/SERENITY: FIREFLY CLASS 03-K64 (Dark Horse)
Dark Horse’s second offering for FCBD features two of the biggest sci-fi franchises of all time. While Serenity certainly doesn’t have the following Star Wars had, it has enough to more than stand on it’s own. The story in this issue takes place after the events of the movie and while the crew has been able to move on, Zoe has more than an emotional reminder of Wash. I won’t give away what it is here, fans of the series will be happy, I think. The story is more of an interlude in which the crew stops on a planet to grab their cargo. It’s advised Mal stays behind since the last time they visited there was a lot of shooting involved and it was probably more Mal’s fault than he’ll admit. While watching over Serenity, Mal comes face-to-face with someone who wants the ship and, well, even without being in town there’s shooting involved. It’s a fun story that fans of the series will enjoy plus there is a very nice cover by Daniel Dos Santos that simply must be seen!
On the flipside we have Han Solo and Chewbacca running late to drop off some cargo and while Solo doesn’t get the price he originally agreed to, Solo isn’t the best negotiator, he still manages to hang on to the Falcon, if only just barely! I’ve never read a Star Wars comic but anyone with any familiarity with the franchise should easily be able to read and fully enjoy this. It’s nice to see the original characters (read: BETTER characters) get more face time although I could never figure out how Solo is able to understand Chewbacca.
Also, the first part of the Alibaster story is here in which a young girl who is more than she seems has a chance meeting with a troll under a bridge. I have to admit, I’m curious about this series and will at least look into the trades for it.
ZOMBIE KID (Antarctic Press)
This one looked familiar when I opened it up and a quick search online proved my suspicions. This was the book formerly called Diary Of A Zombie Kid. I say ‘formerly’ because the writer of the popular Diary Of A Wimpy Kid series of books apparently took offence to his books being parodied and sued. I guess millions of copies one of his books sold was being threatened by the more than 5,500 copies this book originally sold. Petty and pathetic complaints by a thin-skinned writer aside, this book is highly entertaining. I’ve often said that you can make anything better if you put zombies in it and this, again, proves that theory.
Done in a journal style, much like the Wimpy Kid series is, it chronicles the unlife and times of Bill Stokes, age 11.5, who became a zombie thanks to his mother but won’t let this minor set-back get in the way of his dreams of becoming a professional video gamer despite field trips and bullies getting in his way. This is another book geared towards a younger audience and is certainly one that is tailor made to be read aloud to kids who may not be ready for Night Of The Living Dead but still like zombie stories.
Check out all of our Free Comic Book Day coverage!