Retrospective: FCBD 2010

Well it was a beautiful day in Connecticut on Saturday (not 2008 as indicated above but 2010); I suppose that a greater power decided that Free Comic Book Day 2010 couldn’t happen on a miserable rainy or muggy day. After running some errands a couple of friends of mine called up and were heading downtown. We traveled under the guise of “one of the guys needs to get his kids some toys” and four of us met at the store, some with wives in tow, to peruse this year’s strong offerings of comics from a variety of publishers.

In addition I went back to the comic racks at Omni Comics and Cards and looked for something intriguing. Why should free comics not be enough? Well with a mere five dollar purchase, the allowable two free comics increased to five. I’m a mere human, and when faced with the prospect of five dollars standing between me and three more free comics (you can save your discussions of whether those three comics were in fact free for another day) I needed to make a purchase.

I’m left thinking that Free Comic Book Day may, in the end, impact my wallet more than anticipated as a variety of publishers I was aware of and some that I wasn’t seem to be putting out some intriguing comics. The other thing that struck me was the number of mainstream and well known actors and actresses in Hollywood that are involved in comics. I had no idea. Jennifer Love Hewitt has a book (no…I didn’t pick it up)? Wesley Snipes is involved with an upcoming title with Radical Comics? We recently reviewed Cold Space with Samuel Jackson prominently involved.

So that was my major revelation for the day, that actors are creative people too. Now I’d like to share with you what I picked up and some exciting new titles that were revealed to me. I suppose a good way to break this down would be by publisher. As is typical for free comic book day many of the books are previews of upcoming titles, many of which look awesome.

I picked up was some of the upcoming Dark Horse titles named Doctor Solar Man of the Atom and Magnus Robot Fighter. Doctor Solar reminded me a bit of Dr. Manhattan only he isn’t quite as all powerful. He was the victim of a research accident and has knitted himself back together using his former strongest character trait, sheer focus. Now he can bend time and light and is seeking purpose in his new existence. This title intrigued me.

Magnus Robot Fighter is based in a future world where robots seem to have run amok and he is tasked with thwarting their robotic rebellion against the meatbag humans. He has some interesting powers and even some robot allies. This title didn’t get me as fired up but if you like robots it might be the one for you. Both titles are written by Jim Shooter. Dennis Calero does the art for Doctor Solar while Bill Reinhold and Wes Dzioba handle art and colors for Magnus. If you are familiar with their work keep your eyes open for them when they come on July 14th and August 4th respectively.

Another book I picked up was The Death-Defying Devil Man from Dynamite Entertainment. Alex Ross and Jim Krueger combine on the plot and script while Andy Smith and Debora Carita handle the art and colors on this title. Apparently, Devil Man once fought a Godlike villain from another world, The Claw. At first assumed to be an alien being, Claw’s origins are really still unknown. Back in the days of Hitler and the Third Reich Devil Man fought and defeated Claw, but apparently the villain is back. There appears to be a league of heroes aligned with Devil Man to attempt to finish him off for good.

That last scene ends with a view of various heroes that could have been pulled from a City of Heroes MMO screenshot. Some of the other ongoing titles that Dynamite took the time to promote were Jungle Girl, Project Superpowers, Zorro, The Man with no Name, Red Sonja, The Lone Ranger, Battlestar Galactica and Army of Darkness. That is quite a lineup of titles, both original to comics and adapted to the medium from other venues. Keep an eye on Dynamite Entertainment if any of those series stand out to you.

For upcoming titles offered by Top Cow check out the review of Artifacts #0 posted a few days ago. It appears to incorporate all of the different major titles in the Witchblade Universe and is being headed up by Ron Marz. There is always good stuff going on in that universe with Marz at the helm.

Another publisher that has put out a slew of work is Radical Comics. Their book had a preview of a myriad of upcoming titles, all of which looked fairly different and unique. Driver for the Dead, The Rising, Time Bomb and After Dark are all interesting titles, with the last being my personal pick from them all. Driver involves a man who transports dead bodies no one else will; that's right, he drives a hearse. We are set up with the first storyline which will involve the transport of a dead voodoo doctor, and introduced to the character currently trying to get a vampire to its final resting place before it turns and does some serious damage. The hearse has an old school muscle car engine coming out of the hood, and overall looks to be an intriguing title.

In Time Bomb an ancient Nazi weapon that could extinguish life on Earth has been discovered and activated, and people must go back in time to stop it. In The Rising the human race has been decimated by an alien virus and most of the survivors are content to be servants to their new alien masters. A select few fight for independence and the story will tell their tale. The preview had an awesome opening fight scene and the whole story has a Gear of War-like feel to it- gritty action where we are outmanned and outgunned abounds.

Finally, my personal favorite After Dark takes place in a post apocalyptic world where the sun doesn’t seem to exist anymore. Who knows what the cause is, but the artwork, style and my natural tendency to be obsessed with these settings put me over the edge. Given what I’ve seen from Radical Comics lately, I’m sure all of these titles will find their way into many fans hearts.

In what is becoming a tradition I picked up the reprint by New England Comics Press of The Tick #1. Much like last year’s release of the TMNT #1 I wanted to see how this title that I truly loved as a cartoon as a kid got its start. I also picked up the first two issues of Volume II of The Mice Templar published by Image. Something about mice battling snakes with batwings, or maybe it is snakes behind them, just intrigues me. The tale of an animal struggle personified grabbed my eye on the shelf at the store. Written by Bryan J.L. Glass with artwork by Michael Avon Oeming, Victor Santos and colors by Veronica Gandini this was released back in July 2009. The book has a medieval feel too it and I enjoy the story and artwork immensely. If you are in between new titles and want to give something a shot, see if you can find this one at your local stores and give it a browse.

Well…FCBD was NOT a disappointment and the only bad thing about it is the fact that it happened last Saturday means it will be another year before I get to do it all again. Hope you all hit it up and if not look into the titles mentioned above as I’m sure that no matter what your tastes in comics are, one of the fine publishers mentioned above will have something to satisfy that preference.