- Posted by Johanna on May 4, 2012 at 9:23 pm
- Category: Comic News
I’ve had the chance to check out some of this year’s Free Comic Book Day comics.
The book of the year is Archaia’s Mouse Guard, Labyrinth, and Other Stories, a free 48-page color hardcover with original comics. David Petersen’s lead story, in which he draws puppet versions of his characters, is inspiring and fable-like. The Labyrinth tale, written by Ted Naifeh and Adrianne Ambrose and illustrated by Cory Godbey, is faithful to the look and mood of Hoggle and other cast members. There’s also a confusing Dapper Men short by Jim McCann and Janet Lee; a piece of Royden Lepp’s Rust and another of Jeremy Bastian’s Cursed Pirate Girl; and a funny yet stern introduction to Cow Boy by Nate Cosby and Chris Eliopoulos. I’m not sure readers are going to like everything they see here, but it feels like a terrific value and it demonstrates the diversity of Archaia’s line and the comic medium. Some of their creators are making store appearances in support of FCBD.
Another outstanding book is The Censored Howard Cruse, released by Boom! in support of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. The uncensored versions of the pages herein will be available in next month’s The Other Sides of Howard Cruse. If it’s frustrating reading comics with black bars over words and images, that’s a good reminder that the freedom to read material aimed at adults is a valuable thing. The stories here cover artistic imagination (and erotic material), political debate, and drugs. Some amazing cartooning here, either way.
Dark Horse has two Free Comic Book Day issues, both flipbooks. Star Wars/Serenity are both written by Zack Whedon, with the characters looking similar enough to the media versions we know and love, even if the Serenity incident is minor. (I didn’t read the Star Wars.) I enjoyed the Buffy/Guild issue more. Andrew Chambliss, Georges Jeanty, and Dexter Vines’ Buffy story apparently takes place after the current issues, with Spike taking her into space for a brief vacation, although it’s interrupted by one of Spike’s space bugs having been turned into a vampire. Funny, adventurous, and a good representation of the appeal of the series. The Guild, by Felicia Day and Jonathan Case, is more cartoony than previous issues, but works well enough as a silly stand-alone. The two issues have one more story split between them, a chapter of Alabaster: Wolves by Caitlin Kiernan and Steve Lieber.
I haven’t seen yet, because they’re coming from my mail-order retailer, copies of Top Shelf Kids Club and Donald Duck Family Comics. I don’t know why I didn’t think to order Fantagraphics’ other title, Barnaby and Mr. O’Malley by Crockett Johnson, but that’s #1 on my “I sure hope someone in town ordered this one” list.