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Saturday, May 05, 2007

Free Comics overview

Went to a Free Comic Book Day thing for the first time, mostly because there was a particular comic shop that I'd been meaning to check out. It was a pretty good store, with a good selection of tradepaperbacks (I picked up one of Tezuka's PHOENIX books I didn't have, and the collection of Charles Schulz's sports strip IT'S ONLY A GAME) and well located for me in some ways, so I might be going there more.

Anyway, the store had about two dozen of what I gather are over 40 of this years free comics. I'm not sure if they just ran out of the others or didn't get them (I was there fairly late in the day, but they still had a lot of the ones they had). Looking at the FCBD website it looks like some of the missing ones where ones I might have been interested in, like Eddie Campbell's upcoming book. But I guess it doesn't matter much since I already know I'm going to buy Campbell's book.

I picked up 10 of the books they had. Some quick thoughts on them:

UNSEEN PEANUTS, a selection of over 150 Peanuts strips not reprinted until the current COMPLETE PEANUTS series (including some scheduled for an upcoming volume), along with some notes and speculation about why those strips were "lost". Interesting to read in this context. A lot of those are the ones that struck off notes reading them in context of the full run. Kind of makes me wish that they included some sort of notes in the COMPLETE books.

LITTLE ARCHIE had a pretty decent story by Bob Bolling of the mini-versions of the Riverdale gang at camp. Not quite as good as the older Bolling work I've read.

LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES IN THE 31st CENTURY, a comic based on the cartoon. I really don't like the character designs for this show, and I found this story kind of confusing and unfunny.

NEXUS has a selection of short bits from older NEXUS issues (some in colour for the first time), with some notes on why they were chosen, and then a 7-page preview of the upcoming new series. Pretty good sampler of Baron and Rude's work, and I'll probably pick up the collection of the new stuff.

GUMBY is suitably strange stuff from a variety of creators, some from the regular GUMBY book, some others. Lots of weird art jokes. Felt a bit barren in black and white, pretty sure it was drawn for colour.

WHITEOUT #1, a reprint of the first chapter of the Rucka/Lieber comic of a few years back, being re-released in a fancy new edition. I'm almost certain I've read this before, but have no memory of it. Really good art, story doesn't do anything for me.

BONGO COMICS FREE-FOR-ALL has various Simpsons and Futurama stories. Evan Dorkin writes the lead story, which is pretty good (and even has a Milk and Cheese cameo...). The shorter stories are okay, and the art is nice throughout, but overall it satisfies my Groeningverse comics itch for a long while to come.

SPIDER-MAN has a new story by Dan Slott and Phil Jimenez, who have both done some work I thought was okay in the past. Not really the kind of Spider-Man story I want to read more of, and if that was in fact Mary Jane as a super-hero named Jackpot, well, that's wrong on many levels. Jimenez has changed a lot from the George Perez clone I remember of years past, but not always for the better. If this is the future of Spider-Man, I'll be sitting it out.

COMICS FESTIVAL has various short bits from some Canadian artists. A few were pretty funny, most weren't really to my taste. Whoever proofread the bios needs to learn the difference between "Joe Shuster" and "Simon&Schuster". Darwyn Cooke does a story that's about Alex Toth, in a roundabout way, and I'm not sure about it at all.

MICKEY MOUSE has some goofy reprints of the Floyd Gottfredson strip from 1936. A long adventure that starts with Mickey experimenting with plant growing and shrinking formula, which somehow leads to him meeting Robin Hood, and a short adventure with rival Mortimer Mouse. Good fun.

So not a bad haul for free. I liked about half of what I got, and really had no reason to think I'd like some of those I didn't like and probably should have just left them on the table.

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