Free Comic Book Day 2012 Roundup & the Avengers Movie

I had a great time during this year’s Free Comic Book Day. Big thanks to Ed, who organized the fifth annual Free Comic Book Day Caravan of Love, traveling to all the participating shops in the Richmond area.

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to make it to Velocity Comics, since they’re located two blocks from where the President of the United States was speaking, so the major roads in that area were closed. I’m told they’re having a sale today to make up for it, so locals may want to visit them to share the love.

Free Comic Book Day logo

I was able to find most everything I was looking for, with these exceptions. Although I already have a copy, I didn’t see the Archaia giveaway hardcover anywhere. The one shop I knew well enough to ask had given them away quickly, with all of them gone before I got there. I’m not sure the other two ordered any or put them out, or they may also have given them away first. I also didn’t see any copies of the Valiant relaunch sampler or Oni’s Bad Medicine launch. The Top Shelf Kids Club book, meanwhile, is coming via mail order.

Now that I’ve had a chance to read the comics, I was a bit disappointed by the number that are simply teasers or promote works not yet available. The DC Superman Family Adventures, for example, was five pages introducing a character, Superman, that everyone is already familiar with. I guess they figure that might not be true of the youngest readers, but to me, it felt like a waste. Especially since I’d already seen the promo used in the other DC Nation kids’ books.

I know, I’m not the target audience, but I’m beginning to be more sympathetic to those who denigrate FCBD material as lame advertisements. I suspect publishers don’t want to pump any more money into the event than they have to, but a full story gives a better taste than a segment or worse, a pinup ad page. (Yes, I’m disappointed that the promised Archie preview of the New Crusaders in the Mega Man comic turned out to be just that.) But when Capstone, for example, makes a big deal out of a “free!!” copy of two stories that end “find out what happens next in this book coming in August”, that’s a bit frustrating.

That’s a side effect of the flipbook structure that so many publishers used this year. The stories are short, and we know that shorter stories are harder to make satisfying. That’s especially disappointing for readers who aren’t interested in both properties.

Then there are the time frames involved between now and the release of the works being promoted. Yen Press’ Infernal Devices ships in October. Image 20 had introductions to stories that won’t be available until September, August, and July. The Drawn & Quarterly Moomin story continues in a book out in September.

Wow, I’m being more negative than I expected. Let me sum up this way: the appeal of FCBD to me was the event, traveling with friends and visiting the shops. The books are, in a way, secondary. I know too much about them already. (As pointed out to me by one unfriendly store worker who didn’t seem to like that I was asking for stuff beyond the DC/Marvel/big brand titles.)

That said, here’s what I enjoyed most from my reading (beyond what I’ve already talked about):

* I don’t get Adventure Time, but Lucy Knisley’s story in the Boom! sampler was cute, about trying to fix a load of laundry colored by a red sock.

Barnaby and Mr. O'Malley cover

* Evan Dorkin and Sarah Dyer contribute a piece featuring Super Robot Martian Girl fighting a robot recycler to Oni’s Yo Gabba Gabba! comic.

* The Carl Barks Donald Duck stories from Fantagraphics were, of course, funny and terrificly cartooned.

* Papercutz’s Smurfs/Tinker Bell book contained some one-page Dance Class stories. They really brought back memories of childhood ballet lessons. I’d read more of these, and I think the books have a built-in audience, if the potential readers know about them and can find them.

* The Fantagraphics Barnaby and Mr. O’Malley pulls the “to be continued” trick, but what was here was greatly entertaining, with Crockett Johnson’s little boy, his cigar-chomping Fairy Godmother, and a ghost named Gus who sleeps in a laundry basket investigating a local haunted house, which turns out to be related to coffee smugglers. (It was wartime, and coffee was apparently restricted.)

Oh, and I did buy a comic — a copy of the CrossGen Sampler, signed. It was in a dollar box, and it made me giggle, so I bought it as a momento of when the publisher was just starting out. The signatures include Barbara Kesel, Ron Marz, Brandon Peterson, and more I can’t make out.

Also, the day ended wonderfully, as I had a fabulous time seeing the Avengers movie. What a great note to end on! It was entertaining, a real thrill-ride, and I particularly appreciated how much humor there was, even in the fight scenes. I don’t care for one of Joss Whedon’s recurring tricks that cropped up here, but I was surprised how much I liked Mark Ruffalo’s portrayal of the Hulk. Although I didn’t care for The Incredible Hulk, with Ruffalo in the role, I’d enjoy seeing a new Hulk movie. I also like Alan Sepinwall’s idea (warning: spoilers at that post) of wanting to see “Marvel Team-Up”-style films.

I’d like to read comics with this group of characters, but as tends to happen after seeing a Marvel movie, there doesn’t seem to be a comic book available with this approach to this group of characters. I guess print just can’t capture the appeal of Robert Downey Jr.’s sarcastic Tony Stark or Chris Evans’ upstanding Captain America or Chris Hemsworth’s attractive Thor.

2 Responses to “Free Comic Book Day 2012 Roundup & the Avengers Movie”

  1. James Schee Says:

    I think I still have that sampler, as it came with the CrossGen Press kit that I saw I still had the other day.

    I wish there was a LEGAL way to get the FCBD issues. I searched and saw the usual suspect websites have many of them up as torrents already. Hopefully the companies put them on their aps at some point this week for those who don’t do the shop thing.

    I had expected to like the Avengers movie, so was pleasently surprised to turn out to love it. I actually sent a tweet to Marvel, not that it’ll do any good but wanted to be heard. Saying that I wish there was an Avengers comic series set in the movie universe. I want more with these versions of the characters.

  2. Dance Class Volumes 1 and 2 » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] got a quick taste of the Dance Class comics as part of the Papercutz Free Comic Book Day comic. Since then, I’ve had a chance to read the two slim volumes released so far, and I’ve […]




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