Over the weekend, the two tiers of next years Free Comic Book Day books were announced.
If you read and deeply care about comics (I try to), then perhaps you might empathize with Free Comic Book Day. I'm lucky enough to live within spitting distance of at least four different comic book shops, and all or most of them use this day to try to bring new people into the medium. Normally I wouldn't complain so much about what basically amounts to swag, but I find it rather poignant in an underdog industry that sustains plenty of local business in a world that insists that print-is-dead-so-let's-all-buy-a-kindle.
Folks, Free Comic Book Day is important because it gives us a rare glimpse as to how the comic book industry SEES ITSELF. This is what they're trying to pimp out to you, and your kids. My biggest complaint is that despite the massive amount of talent we have now, very few of it is reflected in the print. Comics has a quality control problem, especially in the biggest leagues. Comics marketing is fundamentally flawed. They still haven't ascended from targeting to your creepy uncle, while dismissing a generation of children who could use a slice of awesome in their literature.
But for now, lets judge a bunch of free books by their covers. The books are separated into two categories, Gold and Silver. I assume Gold books get the most distribution.
Mouse Guard is an excellent comic and usually one of the highlights of any Free Comic Book Day. However, it usually shares the space with one other story on the flipside. This one breaks Archaia's usual square dimensions, and promises at least five more comics. The publisher needs to do a better job of bringing attention to their other work, which I've always found interesting, but have been ignored for too long, so this seems to be a step in that direction. Points down for collector-prone "limited edition" jargon.
I've always preferred my Mega Man comics better as Astro Boy.
Is there anything particularly ironic about Comic Book Guy anymore? I wonder if now his store survives by providing shelter for Warhammer hermits.
Dear Schulz estate: please just let Fantagraphics handle Peanuts exclusively and file a restraining order from any other publisher now and forever, thanks.
STAR WARS GUYS! In this bacta run, Han only needs to smirk first, not shoot.
The context being a return to a continuity left for dead back in 1991: "Because the Fans demanded it! Thousands of TRANSFORMERS fans signed petitions urging us to make this book--and IDW listened!"
This one demands you to consider Image's place in comics, which I feel is a lot more interesting now than it used to be. Hence the lack of Spawn.
Eh. +1 for color. NOT FINAL COVER
Nothing says "limited shelf life" than a parody of a popular kid's book series. Should we still be looking at comics this way? Then again, they certainly shouldn't be put into idiotic CCG plastic protectors. I'm split. Need aspirin.
More video game promotion, but it's a got a cool cover. +1 for that. -1 for use of the use of "Special Edition".
Totally not gay!
Totally gay! No, seriously. I might have to look into this, as Stuck Rubber Baby was excellent, and this cover says all it needs to say. An A for brevity.
Looks epic. But what would it take for DUNE to get out of the nerd ghetto?
Someone's butthurt about Dark Horse.
Never mind the aspirin. This one couldn't care less that it's new and disposable, and revels in it with flying colors. A+
Niche comics could do a better job selling themselves visually. There's nothing boring about the middle east. But this is! I hope it's not a final one. NEEDS MORE WORK.
What the hell am I looking at? Does the orange shirt represents feline femininity, and the red pants mean death and sex, I guess? Apparently it has to do with outer space. Dark Horse is better than this. D for DO BETTER.
-1 for green fuzzyness. -1 for TV promo. Total: -2
Something new! Holy shit! Great cover. This feels funny and poignant all at once.
Cluttered perhaps, but we need to be smacked silly with Jansson's linework. Go for it!
Holy crap. Donald's gonna explode. This is going to be awesome.
We're on a roll here. Prepares the reader for the strip's modernist sensibilities. Anybody would get it.
IS A LIE! Like a Jehovah's Witness reader, Overstreet's Comic Book Marketplace drags you in with something relatable on it's cover and takes a sharp right turn into selling to you it's apocalyptic gospel. The industry doesn't needs this. Absolutely inessential. F
Great cover, but I doubt it's going to look like this. Still leaves me interested, though.
This doesn't tell you the name, or the publisher. That being Witchblade and Image. I think that's pretty bold, but someone should tell her she's walking into fire. Perhaps I should turn the page?
It says: FROM THE DIRECTOR OF THE MEN IN BLACK FILMS' BARRY SONNENFELD'S DINOSAURS VS. ALIENS WRITTEN BY GRANT MORRISON. Who wrote that? Bad tagline, bad logo. START OVER.
What the hell is happening to Elvis? CUT THE SHIT, LIQUID COMICS.
Not bad, but get your hands out of my face. -1 for TV terminology.
This isn't bad.What happened to his head? You'll have to read it to find out.
These are from the same book. Who is Z? Who is Papercut? Is this who Disney put in BOOM's place? One promises classic euro comics, the other promises faux pas brand fulfillment. Bad contrast of material.
I don't know what this is, but the cover is good, and sets the right tone. This says "proper fairy fantasy". Hand them this one instead.
Say what? Are they making Judge Dredd look interesting? Good things happen when you try.
I've heard this was the shining star of every FCBD, and I still haven't read it. I'm an idiot! Look at this. This isn't Disney, and this isn't testosterone. This is Atomic Robo, and that's all it's supposed to be. A
There's Avatar in my soup. Just kidding. I think this is fine.
This is what happens when a good publisher establishes a family of original work. It has the word "kids" in it but it doesn't look down on them, it looks at them at the eye level. This!
Great title! This is repulsive.
Congrats. This is designed to be camouflage in any shitty comic book rack. Next.
Exactly what Top Shelf doesn't do. "You know, fer kids!" Awful.
This has no right to exist.
Uh. D+ for funny lizard guy.