Free Comic Book Day 2019: The Best of the Silver Comics
A Sheets Story (Lion Forge) — A short story in the world of Brenna Thummler’s Sheets graphic novel, about a laundromat girl and her ghost friend. Marjorie, her father, and her younger brother are going to visit grandmother, and Marjorie’s feeling the pain of awkward adolescence. It’s a complex story that unfolds in unexpected ways, and extra kudos for doing something new, stand-alone, and satisfying.
Dear Justice League (DC) — Two short stories by Michael Northrop and Gustavo Duarte in which kids write letters to superheroes. In these, it’s Superman (with a Rube Goldbergian chain of events through the city) and Hawkgirl, who has an adorable pet hamster. Hilarious and well-cartooned. A real high point.
H1 Ignition (Humanoids) — The Eurocomics publisher is launching a superhero universe, only they’re emphasizing that it’s about people with powers, not necessary costumed adventures. The short situations here are intriguing — a doctor who has uncanny observation and prediction powers, a couple who can’t be separated or extreme forces start operating, a teen team motivated to stop school shootings — and the creators are well-known and experienced. The three titles launch one each in June, July, and August, plus there are previews of three upcoming graphic novels. I know why the lead time — they want stores to see the previews and make or increase orders — but I hope people remember this sample when the books are actually available.
Kino’s Journey: The Beautiful World (Vertical) — A short story from a longer manga volume by Iruka Shiomiya based on light novels by Keiichi Sigsawa about a boy’s travels with his talking motorcycle. This particular one has the feel of a fable, with a series of old men encountered working on abandoned railway tracks. They keep doing their work because they’ve never been told otherwise. Gorgeous art, thoughtful storytelling.
Lumberjanes: The Shape of Friendship (Boom!) — I have a hard time reading the mostly monochrome sample chapter from the upcoming graphic novel, because it doesn’t have enough contrast in the art (by polterink), but I enjoyed the backup story. The piece by Kelly Thompson and Savanna Ganucheau has been published before (in the Bonus Tracks collection) but I liked seeing Ripley tell the tale of how she rescued counselor Jen, aided by a sphinx.
Punchline (Antarctic Press) — Bill Williams and Matthew Weldon tell the story of an injured woman passing on superhero powers to a new acolyte. There’s a fine line between giving the reader enough so they want to read more, and setting things up so they have to read more. This one comes really close to crossing that, as it’s all origin story. (And why does the superhero randomly have one bare thigh in her costume?) Enjoyable enough, though, and nice dialogue that builds a solid-feeling world.
And one dishonorable mention: The Overstreet Guide to Collecting comes out every year, and it’s its own little time capsule of what comics used to be about. I liked the comic-format approach to explaining how cool comics are to a newbie (who somehow showed up in costume), but statements like
It doesn’t matter if you’re into cosmic superheroes… or gritty war comics… or swashbuckling barbarians… if you like them or any other genre you can imagine, comic books have something for you!
What about pretty ponies? Or hipster love stories? Or mentioning some genre that isn’t so aggressively male? (In the second half, the list expands to vampire stories, science fiction, and zombies.) Let’s not forget why they’re really here:
As many great new comics as there are… there are even more great older comics! … Many vintage high grade comics are worth a lot of money!
I think they’ve missed the point of this holiday.