FCBD’s Best

bongoThere are almost 50 different free comics being offered around the world as part of FCBD. Here’s the best.

FCBD stand for Free Comic Book Day – the most original concept to happen to the comics biz since gorillas on covers. Launching in 2002, hot on the heels of the new Spider-Man film, only a trickle of titles from the major publishers were available at the time. As its popularity continues to grow, even indie publishers are now getting in on the action. Now there really is something for everyone, including not only reprints, but original issues made specially for the one day event. So, if you’ve just seen Wolverine at the cinema and want to know more about the world superheroes inhabit, or would like to see what all the fuss about comics is, or you’re a fanboy/girl who wants to make the most of the opportunity to invite a friend into the wonders of sequential art – then step right up. First things first though. Not every comic shop is participating and you can’t just go in and grab any issue you like and wave your gratitude as you flee. Visit www.freecomicbookday.com to see if a shop near you is taking part. Then peruse the available titles to see what takes your fancy. Each shop has different limits, so don’t expect to be walking away with a trolley full of freebies, but as FCBD is always popular, it’s good to remember your Boy Scout training and “be prepared.” Every publisher’s offerings on FCBD are just a tiny sample of series that they regularly produce. Larger companies such as Marvel and DC have more than one free issue available, but every publisher uses the day for the same reason. It’s a showcase of their best, created for the regular reader and newbie alike. The aim of FCBD is to open eyes and minds to what comic books are about and hopefully, make lifelong devotes in the process.

DC’s Blackest Night is, and will be for some time, the event of the moment. Space opera superheroes at their best. Writer Geoff Johns is DC’s Midas. Every title he touches turns to gold. With art from Ivan Reis and Dough Mahnke it not only breaks down the recent deaths in the DCU, but looks very perty too. #1 pick for fanboys.

Dabel Brothers Showcase. Samples from The Dresden Files, Take A Chance and The Warriors are diverse enough to include a novel adaptation, a butt-kicking mother and a revisit to a cult film. Also included is a 7 page preview from Del Rey’s new Star Wars novel, Outcast. # 1 pick for novel readers.

Sonic: Evolution of a Hero. From Sega and Archie comes the look at the inexplicably popular blue haired game character. There’s no story, just pages filled with info on all the Sonic characters. #1 pick for Sonic fans.

starwarsResurrection. Oni Press’ series centered on the world after an alien invasion has gained many fans. Now you can see why. There’s also a mildly humorous Tek Jansen preview. #1 pick for alien lovers.

G.I. Joe/Transformers Animated. IDW are the latest publisher to carry this pair of much loved franchises. With new Transformers and Joe films just around the corner, this flip book which features both ‘80s properties will get a good response. #1 pick for Gen Xers.

The Avengers. If you don’t know if you like your Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to be New or Dark, this slightly smaller format comic gives you both. Written by Brian Michael Bendis, with great art by Jim Cheung it has many spandex wearers fighting in the snow, but not each other. Also included is a twist on the Fastball Special and breakdown of the Dark Avengers. #1 pick for Avengers curious.

Archie Presents The Mighty Archie Art Players. Four short stories with cartoony art and kiddie humour. Exactly what you’d expect, but with Jughead in a Superman costume and Archie as Indiana Jones. Also – Betty as a mermaid. #1 pick for Archie fans.

Owly and Friends. One of Top Shelf’s most popular series is Owly. His wordless adventures are always delightful and here he’s supported by two other tales, featuring Korgi ,and Johnny Boo by James (and son Eli) Kochalka. #1 pick for parents who want to read with their kids.

DC Kids. Mike Kunkel’s Shazam!, Batman and Blue Beetle teaming up and Tiny Titans, plus a few games from the Super Friends series. #1 pick for Fanboy Jr.

John Stanley’s Melvin Monster/Nancy. Classic adventures from the good old days, presented in authentic faded colours by the faithful Drawn & Quarterly. #1 pick for old timers.

savage_dragonSavage Dragon. This reprint of SD #148 by creator Erik Larsen and Image features almost forgotten hero, Daredevil (the red and blue hero from Project Superpowers, not Matt Murdock). Also included is a history of Daredevil and a recap of the finned one’s journey thus far. #1 pick for Larsen loyalists.

Wahammer Online: Prelude to War. BOOM! Studios have some impressive properties. This is one of them and shows lots of swords and ugly creatures marching through swamps. Also – acid vomit. #1 pick for fantasy gamers.

Worlds of Aspen. One of the best looking FCBD issues, this offering from Aspen MLT shows previews from Executive Assistant: Iris, Soulfire: New World Order, Fathom and Soulfire. #1 pick for lovers of pretty girls and pretty art.

Aliens/Predator. Dark Horse have excelled with these two creatures for years. This flip book looks great, is faithful to the original films and is an action packed primer for their upcoming series. #1 pick for AVP fans.

Bongo Comics Free-For-All! No publisher wears their geeky heart on their sleeve quite like Bongo. Some Simpsons superhero-centred adventures, plus a Futurama tale involving shopping. Not hilarious, but amusing enough. #1 pick for Simpsons fans.

Wolverine. This and the Blackest Night will be the first to go. Penned by Fred Van Lente it may answer a few questions for Logan fans. #1 pick for young ‘Snikt’ers.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Then again, this issue based on the TV series will undoubtedly be popular too. It also features Indiana Jones, Emily the Strange, Beanworld and Usagi Yojimbo. #1 pick for fans of kid-friendly variety.

Shonen Jump Special. This mostly black and white comic features a rundown of SJ titles and Ultimo Chapter 0 by Stan Lee and Hiroyuki Takei. Don’t forget to read it from right to left. #1 pick for manga fans.


FCBD Today

Now in it’s eighth year, Free Comic Book Day is a world wide event that is pretty much explained in its title. There’s 48 different selected titles to choose from this year. The big boys such as DC, Marvel, Image and Dark Horse have their offerings, but so do the smaller publishers such as Top Shelf, Fantagraphics and Drawn and Quarterly. There really is something for everyone. To see the complete list and if a store near you is participating, go here. While you’re there you might like to pick up the $1 After Watchmen comics from DC too. With first issues of mature series such as Planetary and Transmetropolitan, it’s a good day to be a comic book newbie. These $1 specials are wittily advertised as featuring the first issue of the Trades and have ads for other similar DC series inside its pages. Head down to your LCS, bring a friend and maybe even make some new ones while you’re there!