The Heroes of Our Free Comic Book Day 2015

Bat-Villains!

Even those dastardly Bat-Villains love Free Comic Book Day because it’s the one day of the year they can have nice new things without resorting to theft or deathtraps.

Happy Free Comic Book Day! The fourteenth annual celebration of graphic storytelling narratives and/or floppy funnybooks was a rousing success, far as we could tell from our single stop at Indianapolis’ own Downtown Comics North. In years past I’ve made road trips to visit multiple stores for the occasion, but our schedule was too packed with other obligations and joys. Regardless, ’twas a morning well spent, money well spent for a few items, and an experience fully enjoyed.

Right this way for FCBD photos! Including cosplay!

Free Comic Book Day 2014 Results, Part 2 of 2: the Other Half of the Stack

Batman Beyond IN "Futures End"

Batman Beyond vs. Batwingbot and Squirebot in DC’s apocalyptic Futures End. Art by Patrick Zircher.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

…my wife and I had a ball on Free Comic Book Day 2014 this past Saturday. Readers of multiple demographics, especially a heartening number of youngsters, flocked to our local stores and had the opportunity to enjoy samplers from all the major comic companies and dozens of indie publishers.

How did the finished works do? Did they present an enjoyable, self-contained experience? Were they welcoming to new readers? Did they adhere to the old adage that every comic is someone’s first?

Part One was an overview of my favorites from this year’s haul. Covered here are the rest, from those nearly good enough to those I wish I’d left behind. On with the countdown:

This way to skim The Rest!

Free Comic Book Day Results, Part 1 of 2: the Better Half of the Stack

Avatar vs. Fantasy Dudebros

Even in the world of Avatar: the Last Airbender. some guys think they gotta dominate everything. Art by Faith Erin Hicks.

As previously recounted, my wife and I had a ball on Free Comic Book Day 2014 this past Saturday. Readers of multiple demographics, especially a heartening number of youngsters, flocked to our local stores and had the opportunity to enjoy samplers from all the major comic companies and dozens of indie publishers.

How did the finished works do? Did they present an enjoyable, self-contained experience? Were they welcoming to new readers? Did they adhere to the old adage that every comic is someone’s first?

Of the nearly five dozen items offered to retailers nationwide, my wife and I carried away twenty-five in all, in addition to numerous other items I purchased using money instead of good will. My favorites from my FCBD 2014 reading pile were the following:

This way for this year’s Top 12!

Indianapolis Wins at Free Comic Book Day 2014

Free Comic Book Day 2014 for Kids!

Happy Free Comic Book Day! The thirteenth annual celebration of graphic storytelling narratives and/or floppy funnybooks was a rousing success, judging by the sights my wife and I saw at the three Indianapolis stores we visited. This year’s intent rightly wasn’t to reward the adults for sticking with the hobby through thick and thin. As you can tell by the above photo, including and entertaining today’s children was a major priority. Sure, many of them were based on beloved properties from other media, but those who looked carefully could find some original creations seeking their attention as well.

This way for photos! And cosplay! And more comics!

Free Comic Book Day 2014 is Nigh!

Free Comic Book Day 2014That magical day is here once again! the thirteenth annual Free Comic Book Day is happening this Saturday, May 3rd, coinciding with the long-awaited U.S. theatrical release of Amazing Spider-Man 2. What better way to maximize your otherworldly weekend experience than to have your favorite media teaming up against the forces of illiteracy and doldrums?

For those just joining us: every year since 2002, the greatest American comic book shops participate in the hobby’s largest outreach effort to alert the world that comic books are a viable force for expression and entertainment, have plenty to offer, aren’t just for kids, aren’t just for lusty young-adult males, and aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

The overriding message here, especially if you consider the wide assortment up for grabs this year:

Comics Are For Everyone.

This way for links and advice and a short video!

Free Comic Book Day 2013 Results, Part 3 of 3: Worlds Beyond Marvel and DC

Atomic Robo, Red 5 Comics

Atomic Robo: an essential part of every Free Comic Book Day.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

As previously recounted, my wife and I had a ball on Free Comic Book Day 2013 two weeks ago. Readers flocked to our local stores and had the opportunity to enjoy samplers from all the major comic companies and many of the indies.

How did the finished works do? Did they present an enjoyable, self-contained experience? Were they welcoming to new readers? Did they adhere to the old adage that every comic is someone’s first?

And now the conclusion, focusing on smaller publishers that demand and/or deserve equal attention:

Marble Season (Drawn & Quarterly) — Celebrated Love and Rockets co-creator Gilbert Hernandez, sallies forth into all-ages territory with slice-of-life vignettes of a ’60s childhood in which marbles were a game option before “gaming” was a common verb, kids routinely spoke in benign non sequitur, secret clubs didn’t involve violent hazing, and super-hero role-playing required neither rulebooks nor electricity. Each scene free-flows into the next without need for an overall “story arc” driving the narrative — it’s just the life of kids bouncing each off each other and drifting from one activity to the next. If Peanuts had been less punchline-driven and maybe a tad edgier (we sure never saw Linus and Lucy trying to understand a celebrity suicide) but with the same skewed innocence and underlying heart, the result would’ve looked a lot like this. One of the year’s best FCBD offerings.

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Free Comic Book Day 2013 Results, Part 2 of 3: Familiar Names and Creatures

Stjepan Sejic, Aphrodite IX

The painted dragons of Aphrodite IX. Art by Stjepan Sejic.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

As previously recounted, my wife and I had a ball on Free Comic Book Day 2013 two weeks ago. Readers flocked to our local stores and had the opportunity to enjoy samplers from all the major comic companies and many of the indies.

How did the finished works do? Did they present an enjoyable, self-contained experience? Were they welcoming to new readers? Did they adhere to the old adage that every comic is someone’s first?

More of those finished products:

Infinity (Marvel) — Fans already entrenched in current Marvel Universe continuity may enjoy this prologue to the upcoming major summer crossover event, in which an alien race that once rebuilt itself from the ground up after world-shattering decimation now finds itself entertaining a second visit from its conqueror. From a science fiction standpoint, it’s an intriguing short story even though Thanos only speaks a grand total of two words. Any first-time comic-shop visitors who know Marvel only from their movies might be disappointed that their first Marvel experience is filled with complete strangers and has virtually no Marvel heroes in it at all, save a three-panel montage at the end.

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Free Comic Book Day 2013 Results, Part 1 of 3: Familiar Names and Faces

Star Wars, Dark Horse Comics

From “The Assasination of Darth Vader” by Brian Wood and Ryan Odagawa.

As previously recounted, my wife and I had a ball on Free Comic Book Day 2013 two weeks ago. Readers flocked to our local stores and had the opportunity to enjoy samplers from all the major comic companies and many of the indies.

How did the finished works do? Did they present an enjoyable, self-contained experience? Were they welcoming to new readers? Did they adhere to the old adage that every comic is someone’s first?

My reading results were as follows:

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Indianapolis Wins at Free Comic Book Day 2013

Free Comic Book Day, costumes, DC Comics, 2013

My wife and I are pleased to report that Free Comic Book Day 2013 was certainly a success at Downtown Comics on Indianapolis’ northside location. Not only were the costumed heroes out in full force as shown above — not to mention villains such as Harley and Ivy, and sometimes Catwoman –but in all of FCBD’s twelve years of existence and outreach, this was the first time I’ve had to wait in line for over half an hour to enter the shop.

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May 4th is Free Comic Book Day 2013! Go Get Some!

Free Comic Book Day 2013I would be remiss in my comics fandom if I didn’t take a moment to plug the heck out of the twelfth annual Free Comic Book Day. And no one likes being remiss. No one.

Each year since 2002, American comic book shops participate in the hobby’s largest outreach effort, to alert the world that comic books are still being published, aren’t all terrible, and would be even better if more people bought them so that they could afford to make even more comics, or at least afford to make their current comics even better and prevent their writers and artists from being lured away by other, better-paying media. To that end, comic shops nationwide hand out free comics to any and all visitors — not all their comics, mind you, or else they all go bankrupt and Free Comic Book Day defeats itself. Rather, all the major comic book publishers, an impressive number of semi-major publishers, and a crowd of eager indie startups each publish their own FCBD specials for the occasion — usually all-new stories available nowhere else, except for a couple of Scrooge-like companies who serve lukewarm reprints, under the impression that newcomers will be none the wiser.

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