Like many of my blogosphereiversal brethren, I stopped by my LCS on Saturday, May 7 for Free Comic Book Day. Didn't do a lot of preparation beforehand; actually, there was only one book I really wanted more than any other. Unlike last year, I didn't take any pictures, either. My shop seemed to get most of the various books offered, and the nice young lady at the table helpfully let me come around and look through the boxes for myself. So, here's what I got.
COMIC FESTIVAL (Legion of Evil Press), of course; the one book I was most looking forward to. Wrap a Darwyn Cooke cover on it, and I'm strongly tempted. Add James Jean to the mix, and I'm there. I would have paid 2 bucks for it. I'm also hard pressed to say what I liked best. The list of talent assembled reads like a Who's Who of artists I'm following right now: Bryan Lee O'Malley (short, but clever Scott Pilgrim one-pager), Hope Larson (another fascinating piece- the more I see her work the more I like), Darwyn Cooke, Jason Bone...and I was also engaged by the two one-page Street Angel stories by Jim Rugg and Brian Marucca that were a lot more enjoyable than the last three issues of the series; a page by Jason Pultz, whose stuff I'd seen and liked before but had forgotten about; a Jax Epoch tale, done in a looser and more whimsical style, that I liked 110% better than the graphic novel I read a while ago; a nice, understated three-pager by Larson's Secret Friend Society collaborator Kean Soo; Seth's "Wimbledon Green" preview was clever, funny and interesting- I've never really followed Seth's work all that closely but I may be moved to get this; and two stories about badass fighting chicks: "The Apocalipstix", by Cam Stewart and Ray Fawkes, a Tank Girl-style romp which sported excellent action art- I'd like to see more one of these days; and Ben Shannon's "Cold Play", which was an excerpt from what I assume is a much bigger tale- I liked what I saw of Shannon's art, I don't recall seeing it before. If all the other FCBD offerings were this high in quality, it would be a great day indeed! A
Fantagraphics' FUNNY BOOK was a bit of a disappointment by contrast- the quality of the talent assembled is some of the best there is, but a surfeit of reprints from creators one normally looks forward to (the Bros., Clowes, Sala) tempers the enjoyment a bit. Still, it's a pretty good sampling of what you get from Fantagraphics these days, save for Dame Darcy, and I was especially interested in reading the upcoming plans for future issues of Richard Sala's Evil Eye, one of my favorite comics series. B-
Top Shelf's offering was a new OWLY story, and it was as winning as the others in the series have been so far. Maybe some have it in them to find fault with Andy Runton's friendly little owl and his buddies, but I'm not one of them. A
Drawn & Quarterly's THE ADVENTURES OF PAUL by Michel Rabagliati was a highly readable reminisce, made special by Rabagliati's loose 50's-animation-type style. I'd never heard of the guy before, and I don't know if I'd be willing to pony up a lot of money for more, but I did enjoy this. I especially thought the description of the old-school newspaper press technology (Linotype machines, etc.) was interesting; I've been hearing about it for over a year now from this fellow I work with who's been at the Daily News since the 50's. A-
The ALTERNATIVE COMICS sampler was pretty much par for the course in line with previous years: Kochalka, Haspiel, and a buncha who-deys. Three of them did catch my eye, though- Jen Sorensen's "Slowpoke" strips, which reminded me a little of This Modern World; Robert Ullman's "Lunch-hour Comix", consistently amusing, and "A Strange Day" by Damon Hurd and Tatiana Gill, not so much for the story which was just a "cute couple who dig nostalgically-hip music" tale, but for Gill's sloppy, but expressive art. Hope to see more of her. B
And that's about it! I did see a couple of others that I wished I'd snagged when I was there after reading about them later, and a couple of cool-sounding ones (like the Oni offering) that I didn't see.
Later that week, I went in on Thursday to get my weekly stack and was given free copies of Marvel's HOUSE OF M SKETCHBOOK, which would have given me a geekgasm when I was 12, and a reprint of the first issue of EX MACHINA which I didn't like any better than I did the first time, when I coughed up 3 bucks for it.