I got long and wordy on Part 1, so here I’m just finishing up the remaining comics briefly.
The point of these seem to be “Like the movie/TV show? Try a print version!” Only print lacks some of the appeal, like actual moving characters with voices. I somehow missed seeing the Bongo Comics Free-For-All!, featuring the Simpsons, but if it’s similar to their other titles, kids like it.
Archaia’s Mouse Guard/Fraggle Rock flipbook is a nice package, and the distinctive square size makes it stand out. The first Fraggle story is about Boober, who loves doing laundry, learning to be happy even though he’s different. Then there’s one in which Red learns how to create found art, which magically wins out over everyone else’s paintings. (I sometimes wish that stories about someone finding their creative voice didn’t end with them winning whatever; the pleasure of creation should sometimes be enough, even without external validation.)
The Mouse Guard story appears to be setup for the new miniseries in September. The art is lovely to look at, but there’s not much story, and no resolution. I suspect younger readers may find the underlying concept of soldier mice more interesting than the political concerns expressed in the narration captions.
Speaking of flipbooks, double covers provide more display options, but they make it hard to make sure you’re seeing everything you’re interested in. We got confused a couple of times about whether we already had comics we were looking for. This year’s award for dumbest pairing has to go to the S.E. Hinton/Fame title from Bluewater. One side features a photoshopped image of Lady Gaga; the other has a boy with his bike and dog.
I was surprised to see that the Fame side isn’t even about Gaga; it’s about some loser realizing that her music isn’t that bad. Kind of a bait-and-switch, but I would expect no less from that particular publisher. (There’s also a short Taylor Swift excerpt that’s a more traditional bio.) So, back to the good stuff.
I loved the Penguins of Madagascar stories in the Ape flipbook — the first four-pager is punchy and true to the characters, and the simple penguin shapes are graphically interesting. That’s even more true of the longer second story, which has a flatter, retro look relying on colors to distinguish items instead of lines. The Shrek stories were funny, too, and if I liked the characters more (I’ve only seen the first movie), I’d love seeing more of their adventures.
It wouldn’t be a comic book holiday without some nods to the genre that’s the basis of the direct market.
DC launches a summer event that they’re already backing away from with War of the Supermen #0. I don’t care much for grim, violent Superman, so I’ll pass. Also not for me: Dark Horse’s Doctor Solar/Magnus Robot Fighter. It seems to me that these Gold Key characters have never been particularly successful, so I don’t have hopes for yet another relaunch.
Green Hornet #1 was kind of fun, even though Kevin Smith’s dialogue was too modern sassy for the mood, but five titles with this character? Overkill! One completely story would have been more fun, too, instead of scene setups that send you to buy other comics. I know that’s the point of the day, but you can handle it less obviously and in a more customer-friendly fashion, like the approach Boom! took, with excellent value: Their Irredeemable/Incorruptible book reprinted the full #1 issues of both titles. “Superman gone bad” isn’t my kind of regular read, but at least you get a full taste.
The Del Rey Showcase wasn’t on display at any store we went to. No big loss, since it’s just excerpts of their licensed graphic novels: The Talisman, a new Dean Koontz Odd book, The Last Airbender, and mashup Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Those titles will likely sell better in bookstores than the comic market, so the audience is elsewhere.
Fractured Fables assembles well-known artists for modern takes on fairy tales: Bryan Talbot, Ted McKeever, and so on. It’s promo for an upcoming hardcover anthology with lots more of these short stories. The mashup of “The Princess and the Pea” and “Jack and the Beanstalk” was my favorite, both for the dreamy pastel art and the genius combination of the two, based on a bean. It is a shame that the ISBN prominently shown on the back cover is, according to Amazon, for the wrong book, because the concept and execution are both entertaining.
The preview of Stuff of Legend/The Mortal Instruments from Th3rdWorld I’m just completely uninterested in. I think I’ve read too many comics at this point. So, that’s the wrapup of my Free Comic Book Day. How was yours?