Now, keep in mind that I’m reading most of the books my LCS is offering this year. I’m reading the ones I’m familiar with as well as those I have little to no interest in and I’m giving them all a fair chance and trying my best to be fair in my reviews here.
BONGO COMICS FREE-FOR-ALL!/SPONGEBOB COMICS (Bongo Comics)
If for nothing else, the Comic Book Guy cover on this book makes it worth getting!
The Simpsons story inside takes a fun look at the current crazy of celebrity dancing shows, which would be better if they were made to dance with bears as they do in this story. When the bears begin to attack not just the celebrities but the entire town of Springfield, it’s up to the Springfield Bear Patrol to get to the bottom of it. Can they overcome the lack of clean uniforms and police interference and put and end to this terrible wave of attacks before it’s to late? Well, all you need is a yellow with and a dress and you get closer to the truth than you would ever think possible!
On the Spongebob side, well, fans of the show, of which I am not, will most likely enjoy this. It’s the same level of crazy that makes the show popular among it’s fans and the single page of shorts that rounds out this half are interesting considering the art style being used. Fans of The Simpsons and Spongebob Squarepants are going to be in heaven with this release!
DONALD DUCK FAMILY COMICS (Fantagraphics Books)
Each year we get a Disney comic and I generally like to grab them up. Especially if it features the Disney ducks! This one has something special going for it: not only are these Disney ducks but these are all Carl Barks stories! That should make this the one FCBD release that fans should have on their ‘must get’ list! Inside are a few longer stories featuring Scrooge McDuck, Donald Duck and his nephews as well as the infamous Beagle Boys as they once again try to steal Scrooge’s money! This is followed by a story where Donald must try to find a way to end a series of horrible nightmares that are plaguing him. This leads him to pick up a hobby that is most unbecoming of such a manly duck! This issue wraps up with a series of single page strips, some of which are now among my all time favorite Carl Barks works!
Certainly a book to check out if you’ve ever been curious about classic Barks and the collections that Fantagraphics has put out.
MEGA MAN (Archie Comics)
This is a reprint of the first issue of the current Mega Man series from Archie Comics. I read this when it first came out and really enjoyed it. I’ve never been much of a video game player but the way this book is written you don’t have to be a fan of the games to be able to get into it. It all begins with Mega Man fighting his way into Dr. Wily’s Lab, naturally, but we soon flash back to the beginning and learn about the lives and relationships of our main characters before everything we all pear shaped. We meet Rock who is destined to become Mega Man and learn about the events surrounding his transformation. It’s all very interesting and highly entertaining. Beyond the story, I found the art to be very inviting. It’s very as close to anime that a comic book can get, I suppose.
This is certainly the time to grab this book if you’ve seen it on the shelf and was curious about it or know someone who’s a big fan of the games, they are sure to love it!
SONIC THE HEDGEHOG (Archie Comics)
This one obviously takes place during a regular ongoing story in the Sonic The Hedgehog series. Sometimes it works to do something like this but you have to pick the right story. This one, sadly, isn’t the right story. If you’re a longtime reader of this Archie series then you’ll be alright and most likely fully enjoy the story. The problem, for me, is I’m not a normal reader of Sonic so while I have a familiarity with the character I was pretty much lost for this entire issue. On the plus side it wasn’t a difficult issue to read, I didn’t just put it down because I had no clue what was going on, I was able to read the full issue, even though I still had little clue what was going on by the end of the book. It does end on a cliffhanger, though, which will hopefully entice some to check out the regular series or the trades.
This issue ends with a series of single page stories featuring specific characters and taking place between Sonic #229 and #230 (Man, I can’t believe this series has been going this long! My hat goes off to Archie Comics for being able to maintain this series for this long!
TOP SHELF KIDS CLUB (Top Shelf Comix)
This is another title that’s become a FCBD regular. This black and white, very kid friendly release features some of the most entertaining and charming kids stories you can find in comics these days. They may not get the attention they deserve but this is certainly one to look at if you are looking for a comic you can share with your young one.
In these pages you will find such charming fare as Owly by Andy Runton, Pirate Penguin Vs. Ninja Chicken by Ray Friesen, Okie Dokie Donuts by Chris Eliopoulos and much, much more totaling six all-ages stories in all!
Certainly this is a book with something to suit nearly any young taste and hopefully will serve to introduce a younger generation to the joys of reading comics with stories that parents can feel safe in letting their kids read.
And I have to admit, every year I look for Top Shelf’s book because I honestly like the Owly stories. One of these days I’ll actually get around to getting some Owly books. I don’t know what it is about the character but I really like it!
TRANSFORMERS: REGENERATION ONE #80.5 (IDW)
Of all the books being offered this year, this was the one I was looking forward to the most! I’m a longtime fan of the Transformers and have suffered through a lot of bad incarnations of my childhood faves *cough*MichaelBay*cough* and have waited for a series to come along that I could sink my teeth into. While the two current books More Than Meets The Eye and Robots In Disguise are certainly entertaining and are continuing the ongoing struggles very well, this book goes back more than a few years to the ending of the Marvel Comics series which ended in 1991! The sole purpose of this issue, however, is to being readers up to speed while setting the stage for the upcoming continuation. Add to this fantastic idea the same creative team from the Marvel run, writer Simon Furman, penciler Andrew Wildman and inker Stephen Baskerville all return, and you have the beginnings of a great new series.
And don’t worry if you haven’t read all of the Marvel run because IDW has been reprinting the series in trades for a while now!
VOLTRON FORCE: SHELTER FROM THE STORM (Viz Media)
Viz Media offers a look at their new Voltron Force graphic novel series with this offering.
The Voltron Force we are familiar with are still around but are now working on training the next generation of Lion Pilots. It might not be as easy as they hoped with the personalities of these kids.
Meanwhile, King Lotor is working on another plan to destroy Voltron and unwittingly unleashed a new monster on the universe, a monster with unknown powers and goals. It’s first stop is where the rookies are being trained and they are certainly not up to the task!
Viz has two volumes of this series available now and they are priced at less than $10. If you have been needing your Voltron fix then this is certainly something you need to check out and if you want more, which you will, then have your local comic shop order the first two volumes or visit the Viz Kids website!
YO GABBA GABBA! (Oni Press)
I had no idea what to expect from this so I was very surprised to see the name Mike Allread in the credits! From what I can figure, Yo Gabba Gabba! is about a group of creatures that are friends and have adventures where they ultimately learn valuable lessons about sharing, caring and having fun.
With four stories featuring four different creative teams, this book is another that is tailor made for the younger crowd. Unfortunately, the target audience for this book is probably to young to read it but all that means is you have a book featuring popular characters in brightly colored stories that are very friendly to younger eyes that are perfect for parents to read aloud to their young ones! Once again comic books are a family bonding experience! Plus, I’m sure this would be a welcome break for any parent who has to watch these shows on DVD every day. You know the characters and you know your kids love them, turn off the TV and read this to your kids! They’ll love it!
That’s all for this round! Keep an eye out for more Bullet Previews and check out all of our Free Comic Book Day coverage!