Free Comic Book Day Reactions Part 2

Continuing from part one, my day concluded with a stop at Richmond Comix. There, I got to browse most everything else I was curious about. (My apologies for not putting this up more promptly. I hope you’ll still check out some of these books, if you can find them.)

I tried the X-Men comic, but while I liked the new character Pixie and I was able to understand what was going on, I didn’t care at all about the team fighting generic demons. There was nothing exciting here to bring me back, and the slickness of Greg Land’s art is off-putting. I’ll be reading along, and whomp, out of the story I go as I hit something that looks like a fashion mag photo. Which it probably was in its previous life.

FCBD Marvel Adventures cover

I more enjoyed Marvel Adventures: Iron Man & Hulk & Spider-Man, because it was written by Jeff Parker and Paul Tobin and it was funny. I had many questions about the villain, the Mandarin. The primarly one is this: There’s a handy page showing all of his rings and their powers, but none of them say “teleport”. So why is he able to do that all the time? Later, they explain it as technology, not ring-related, but that seems an awful lot to give a bad guy. And there’s not much to the character beyond his jewelry, which is kind of dumb.

I also didn’t need to hear Ant-Man say “Oh, snap!” and other sad attempts to be trendy. This comic was idiotic much of the time — like when they all place the importance of a historical artifact over fighting, which would never happen — but in a good way. But hey, the Hulk was looking for beans, and he found a doggie, which made up for a lot with me.

I was very curious about the Jughead comic, because of the tie-in to “the famous Geppi’s Entertainment Museum in Baltimore”, but the hard-sell of how cool this place is supposed to be was a real turn-off. It reads like an advertising flyer with an idiotic plot. Normally, the Jughead title is one of the publisher’s best because of its fun and wordplay, but this isn’t at all representative of that book.

FCBD Hellboy cover

The Hellboy/BPRD sampler was a strong, accurate portrayal of the comics, with ugly monsters, weird happenings, supernatural characters, gorgeously strange art, and an overall air of unsettling creepiness. I was lost with the BPRD piece, but that’s usually the case with these titles in small amounts. That’s why I read the books, where I’m sure these stories will be included eventually. As a follower of the series, I can’t really evaluate how a new reader would relate to this or whether they’d want to read more.

It seems really weird that the Bongo Comics Free-for-All doesn’t say Simpsons anywhere on the front, and of the three stories included, only one seems representative of the regular title. The first is a superhero story — maybe out of a misguided sense of how to reach out to comic shop customers — and the last is a manga parody in black-and-white. Neither are particularly good. The other, about Bart going on a stink strike, captures the humor of the TV series better.

I flipped through the Radical book, Imaginary, and while I found the painted-look art impressive, I was put off by the lack of text. A comics sampler, in my opinion, should show comics, not art pages that haven’t yet been captioned or lettered. I would have sampled Salem: Queen of Thorns (Boom!) and Atomic Robo (Red 5), but the only store that had ordered any was out by the time I arrived. As for the others, I already knew they weren’t for me, or I just wasn’t interested. Overall, a nice day and some good comics.

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