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.
BARNABY AND MR. O’MALLEY (Fantagraphics)
For those of us familiar with Harold and His Purple Crayon, the character of Barnaby might seem familiar. While both were created by the late Crockett Johnson, Barnaby predates Harold by more than a decade. First introduced on April 20, 1943, Barnaby was an adventurous boy who has a fairy godfather named Mr. O’Malley. The two would go on many adventures together, though most would think that the boy was doing this stuff on his own because it seemed no one but Barnaby could see or communicate with Mr. O’Malley.
Charming is the best word to describe this. These older strips had a certain charm that is all but forgotten these days but certainly those of us with fond memories of Harold and His Purple Crayon may enjoy this as should those who fondly remember Calvin & Hobbes as this series certainly seems to be something of a template for the boy and his stuffed tiger series.
This issue is simply a preview of the collection from Fantagraphics and worth checking out.
THE CENSORED HOWARD CRUSE (BOOM!) *Mature Readers*
Published in conjunction with the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF), this book focuses on Howard Cruse, one of the more fearless creators in comics history. Being the first openly gay cartoonist, he was also the first editor of the anthology series Gay Comix. This book takes a humorous look at the man’s work as told in a world where the CBLDF didn’t exist and comics are censored for ‘our own good.’ Fortunately, and even though this censorship is funny on it’s own, this is merely a preview of the upcoming release The Other Side Of Howard Cruse from BOOM! Town (BOOM! Town is BOOM! Studios’ indie comics imprint). Naturally, this book isn’t for everyone, so if it isn’t for you then just don’t pick it up. There are references to homosexuality, politics and drugs. If these things offend you, then check out any of the other many books available on FCBD. Just don’t be one of those people who throws a fit and tries to make a federal case out of it because you happen to not get why this book is important. In all seriousness, however, this is a great preview for the upcoming release and we all know that the CBLDF does some great work in protecting not only readers rights but the rights and freedoms of creators around the country. They deserve our support.
FINDING GOSSAMYR/THE STUFF OF LEGEND (Th3rd World Studios)
This one centers on Denny, possibly the smartest person ever, and his sister Jenna who, for some reason is now his caretaker. This FCBD offering is all set up for the adventures to come, as Jenna is trying to place Denny into a school of sorts that caters only the the smartest of the smart. His first task is to try to advance an ancient theorem that has been pondered by some of the greatest minds in history, yet all have been unable to solve it.
This all changes then Denny looks at it and, through the way his mind works, is able to solve the theorem. He soon realizes that the problem is more than it appears, and a whole new world, literally, opens up to him. Fans of Percey Jackson-style adventure may find this highly interesting. This is a ground-floor issue as the series doesn’t begin until July. After reading this prelude issue, check out the official Facebook page for updates!
The flip side of this book is a preview of The Stuff Of Legend, Volume 4! The Stuff Of Legend has fast become a favorite among comics fans. It features the adventures of children’s toys as they enter The Dark when The Boogeyman kidnaps a boy who used to play with them. But this is hardly Toy Story as, when these toys enter The Dark, they become more interesting versions of themselves. This series is known for unique storytelling, as well as some of the best art ever put on a page.
THE INTRINSIC (Arcana Comics)
Arcana is a unique comics publisher from what I have gathered from the introduction inside the front cover. They have established an impressive library of characters and creators and have created the Arcanaverse. The Intrinsic FCBD offering is the opening salvo in an upcoming, company wide crossover that will bring it all together, something that must be quite an undertaking considering the massive library they have to work with.
This is certainly one that fans of the Arcana line should jump on, as well as those of us who have had a passing interest in them. It’s your chance to see what they have and what they have coming up. Having an interest is probably important here because it’s a little difficult to follow if you aren’t familiar with these characters. What I mean by that is the impact of what you are seeing here is felt more if you are familiar. But if you are looking for something different than the regular stuff then I think this is a book you should check out. Even taking into consideration what I’ve just said, this book could easily be the doorway to a whole new universe of possibilities that any reader burnt out on the same old, same old could easily latch on to!
MOUSE GUARD, LABYRINTH & MORE (Archaia Entertainment)
This is certainly the most unique release ever in the now 11-year history of FCBD. What makes this one unique, and certainly one of the most anticipated releases ever in FCBD history, is that it’s a hardcover book. It’s gorgeous as well. Now, I’m not at all familiar with Mouse Guard beyond the title itself and the fantastic art of David Peterson, who’s art has taken the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to new level with his Micro-Series covers, but after having read this story I can certainly see why this series had reached the level of praise that it has.
But Mouse Guard isn’t the only thing offered in this book. We also get a story from Jim Henson’s Labyrinth as well as stories of Jet Jones from Rust, Cursed Pirate Girl, an all-new story that bridges The Return Of The Dapper Men with the upcoming sequel Time Of The Dapper Men and, finally, Chris Eliopoulos’ Cow Boy.
I’ve long been curious about The Dapper Men, and now I see why it got the praise it did. I’m now in the market to get the first story. This is what Free Comic Book Day is all about!
VALIANT 2012 PREVIEW (Valiant Entertainment)
One of the biggest news stories in the comic world in the past year or so has been the upcoming return of Valiant Comics, a publisher that made a tremendous impact on the industry in the 1990′s. This one-shot gives us some sneak peeks at what we can expect from the return of Valiant to our comics shelves, including looks at X-O Manowar #1 (which will actually hit shelves the Wednesday before FCBD) and Harbinger #1, as well as interviews with creators on their upcoming titles and some behind the scenes looks at Bloodshot and the long-awaited return of Archer & Armstrong. Wrapping up this book is a checklist, giving fans a chance to see when these books will be returning to shelves.
2012 was already a huge year for comics and, somehow, Valiant just made it even bigger! If anything, the world will end in 2012 because the comics industry has created too much excitement for earth to contain! Valiant fans need to make this their ‘Must Have’ release for this year’s FCBD.
This is a big week for Valiant, check out all of our coverage, including a look at the new Valiant Logo and a review of this week’s X-O Manowar #1 right here!