So, for quite some time, every year, I’ve read and reviewed the offerings publishers provide for Free Comic Book Day. And then last year, frankly, broke me. The quality to quantity ratio was so abysmal that I realized that I was killing myself to read and comment on, well, disposable junk.
So, this year, and for as long as I continue to keep doing this, I will just break books into the usual categories of “Get It”, “It’s Free”, and “Avoid.”
2000 AD, 2000 AD
All New Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel Comics
The movie-fication of the characters is complete. And as someone who bought Rocket Raccoon books off the rack in the 80s, and thus should feel slightly put out by that, this is an enjoyable book, with lushly detailed art by Aaron Kuder that still has an engaging cartoony edge.
Boom 2017 Summer Blast, Boom! Studios
Colorful Monsters, Drawn and Quarterly
DC Superhero Girls, DC Comics
The very existence of this project I take as a personal vindication of me saying, for years, that DC neglecting the fact that Wonder Woman is both a super-hero and a princess, was leaving money on the table. The popularity of the concept with every little girl I’ve met is heartening. The stories are charmingly illustrated and told as well.
Hilda’s Back, Nobrow Press
The Incal, Humanoids
Time Shifters; Graphix
A fun looking book with monsters and time travel. I mean, this is a book that has Vampire Napoleon in it. That’s some good, mad, high concept comics madness.
Wonder Woman Special Edition, DC Comics
Bad Machinery, Oni Press
The Ballad of Franklin Bonisteel, Z2 Comics
Bongo Free-For-All, Bongo Comics
Buffy the High School Years, Dark Horse Comics
Captain Canuck Year One, Chapterhouse
Catalyst Prime, Lion Forge
Doctor Who, Titan Comics
Dragonball Super, Viz Media
Drawn and Quarterly Presents, Drawn and Quarterly
Fresh off the Boat Presents, Boom! Studios
As much as I adore the TV series, the concept doesn’t really translate well into comics form, even as a jokey reference to an event within the show itself. Great art, and it does manage to capture some of the verve of the show itself.
Grimm Fairy Tales, Zenescope
Kid Savage, Image Comics
Keyser Soze: Scorched Earth, Red 5 Comics
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Viz Media
The Loud House, Papercutz
Malika: Warrior Queen, Youneek Studios
Miraculous, Action Lab
Monster High, Titan Comics
Rick and Morty, Oni Press
Riverdale, Archie Comics
An interesting companion to the TV series, but lacking the “oh I can’t believe they went there” raucousness that is a good chunk of what makes the show work.
Spongebob Freestyle Funnies, Bongo Comics
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Mirror Broken, IDW
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, IDW
Tex: Patagonia, Epicenter Comics
The Tick, NEC
Underdog, American Mythology
World’s Greatest Cartoonists, Fantagraphics
XO Manowar, Valiant Comics
Attack on Titan, Kodansha Comics
Avatar, Dark Horse Comics
Betty and Veronica; Archie Comics
I generally like the work of Adam Hughes. And I’m not one to deny that Betty and Veronica have been portrayed in a cheesecake style more often than not, and that this has lead to some fun work in the past. But the combination just doesn’t work here. This feels rushed and sketchy in comparison to most of Hughes’ work, and it just lacks visual appeal.
Lady Mechanika, Benitez Productions
The Looking Glass Wars: Crossfire, Automatic
Secret Empire, Marvel Comics
Even setting aside the question of if the entire concept of “Captain America was secretly
a Nazi a Hydra agent all along,” is offensive, what this book is, is yet another iteration of the “heroes fight heroes instead of villains” storyline, with a not at all unusual “secret traitor” twist. But that’s aside from the utter grossness and tone deafness and utter antagonism to fans that the writer and the publisher have pursued in the course of this story. Even apart from all that, it’s a boring, trite, done to death story. And this book only emphasizes that, with spectacularly ugly and unappealing artwork.
Steam Wars Strike Leader, Antarctic Press
Street Fighter V Wrestling Special, Udon