Sunday, May 04, 2008

Free Comic Book Day 2008 Guide & Thoughts

The following is a list of all of the offerings for Free Comic Book Day for 2008. The boyfriend called after doing a tour of most of the comic shops in Manhattan and texted me: "I'm bringing home comics." Over forty different comics, to be exact: all free.

His report concerning FCBD at the shops? Most shops set up special areas where customers could pick the comics they wanted and have them bagged by an employee. He said interactivity between the comic shop staff and the patrons was excellent. The amount of comics each person could receive varied from store-to-store. Some stores threw in DC Universe #0 as a free comic. At one major comics shop, Midtown Comics, there was a line around the block. At Jim Hanley's Universe, he noted that there were many children.

Another view on FCBD from artist Steve Ellis can be read here.

I've made an effort to read most of these comics, and my notes for some are included.

Antarctic Press

Neotopia Color Pocket Manga
Notes: We didn't find this one, but it could be that it was overlooked because of the format, or that they ran out.

Ape Entertainment

Cartoonapalooza #1
Notes: All-new short stories featuring a selection of their regular offerings. White Picket Fences & Femme Noir caught my interest.

Arcana Comics

Arcana Presents
Notes: A sampler of Arcana books, including Kade, The Gwai, Burn, and 100 Girls, all far better comics than I expected.

Aspen Comics

Worlds of Aspen
Notes: A sampler of Aspen titles. I think Aspen has officially taken the T & A title from Top Cow. Is the panel from the Executive Assistant Iris preview, where she is naked from behind ready to sexually service her boss, really appropriate in a Free Comic Book Day publication?

Archie Comics

Jughead at The Geppi Entertainment Museum
Notes: I have to admit, this is one of the more ingenious Archie crossovers, with Jughead working at the real-life Baltimore museum. A take-off on the movie "Night At The Museum."

Archie Comics

Sonic The Hedgehog #1 (reprint edition)
Notes: A reprint of the very first Sonic the Hedgehog comic, showcasing the more cartoony style of the series's earlier stories

Bongo Comics

Bongo Comics Free-For-All
Notes: Featuring a hilarious manga version of The Simpsons, which I'm not sure is reprint material or not but is worth hunting down the book just for that. The book is in a smaller, digest-sized format.

Boom Studios

Salem Queen Of Thorns
Notes: A prequel to Salem Queen of Thorns #1, featuring rogue witchhunter Elias Hooke.

Dark Horse

Hellboy: Free Comic Book Day
Notes: An excellent collection of three short stories featuring the work of Mike Mignola, Duncan Fegredo, Guy Davis, Joshua Dysart, and Paul Azaceta

DC Comics

Tiny Titans #1
Notes: A reprint of the first issue of this title, plus a load of Johnny DC ads.

DC Comics

All-Star Superman #1
Notes: The "All-Star" has been dropped from the cover logo. While the first issue of Grant Morrison's Superman is certainly a top-notch issue, I question DC's decision to have it represent the company's mainstream comic offerings for FCBD. What was the purpose in choosing this? To sell the hardcovers? Or to push Grant Morrison as a writer as a whole, to lead people to buy "Final Crisis?" Was there no other current offering from DC that they could have used?

Dabel Brothers Publishing

Del Rey & Dabel Brothers 2008 Preview
Notes: A sampler of Del Rey/Dabel Brothers titles, including Jim Butcher's Dresden Files, Dean Koontz's Frankenstein & George R. R. Martin's Wild Cards. Dresden Files looks sort of cool, Frankenstein looks interesting though the monster looks sort of like a (heavily scarred) pretty emo boy.

Devil's Due Publishing

Drafted: Free Comic Book Day Edition
Notes: This alien-invasion/end-of-the world saga looks pretty interesting.

Drawn & Quarterly

Notes: Previews of two Japanese works from the 1960s & 70s, Red Colored Elegy by Seiichi Hayashi & Good-Bye by Yoshihiro Tatsumi.

Dynamite Entertainment

Project Superpowers: The Death-Defying Devil
Notes: One short story featuring the Death Defying Devil & Yellow Claw, and the rest is previews & ads.

Eureka Productions

Graphic Classics Special Edition
Notes: A selection of short stories by Edgar Allen Poe, Mary Shelley, and others. Quite good, and a lot of material offered with a card-stock cover.

Fantagraphics Press

Notes: Short selections from their Ignatz line, with an homage to Krazy Kat by Kevin Huizenga on the cover.

Gemstone Publishing

Walt Disney's Gyro Gearloose
Notes: Five stories, including two by Carl Barks. Makes you wish Gemstone put out more of these.

Gemstone Publishing

EC Sampler
Notes: Four complete stories, including the ultra-paranoid KKK-themed "Under Cover." Great stories, but not for children.

IDW Publishing

Transformers Animated
Notes: Apparently film cels from the animated series rearranged into a story.


Impact University Volume 4
Notes: Previews and selection from their line of how-to line of books on comic art

Maerkle Press

Love and Capes #7
Notes: FCBD version of issue 7.

Marvel Comics

Free Comic Book Day 2008: X-Men
Notes: Original X-Men story featuring Pixie. I think it significant that the original FCBD story Marvel picked starred a teenage female character with pink hair and fairy wings. I think they are trying to reach out to a younger, more gender-balanced crowd through this FCBD book.

Marvel Comics

Free Comic Book Day 2008: Marvel Adventures
Notes: A complete Marvel Adventures tale starring Iron Man, Hulk, and Spider-Man. Good for kids, but doesn't talk down to them.

Oni Press

Maintenance FCBD
Notes: An enjoyable complete story about time travel gone wrong. Good introduction to the series.

Platinum Studios

Hero By Night: FCBD Edition/Gunplay Preview
Notes: Two previews. Hero By Night does a better job setting up the premise for new readers than Gunplay.

Radical Comics

Imaginary: May 2008
Notes: Previews of Radical's titles, including Hercules, Caliber, and more. Their offerings are very elaborately painted.

Red 5 Comics

Atomic Robo/Neozoic
Notes: My first exposure to Atomic Robo, and very well-done.

Renaissance Press

Amelia Rules! Comics & Stories
Notes: This title, along with Top Shelf's Owly, have cemented themselves as staples of modern comics for kids. Uses a more inexpensive, newsprinty paper stock that I think works fine for kids books.

Rude Dude Productions

The Moth Special Edition 2008
Notes: A Moth story plus sketches & other supplemental material.

Sky Dog Press

Kids Love Comics! Comic Book Diner Special Edition
Notes: A selection of kid comics including Amelia Rules, Buzzboy, Patrick The Wolfboy, and more. Includes a kids comics reading list.

Starbridge Media Group

Nascar Heroes
Notes: Huh. Well I'll be damned, I didn't even know they were licensing this out to comics. Pretty much what you'd expect. I love how the guy on the cover is in that classic Speed Racer pose.

Top Cow Productions

Broken Trinity Prelude
Notes: Is it just me, or did Top Cow make a real effort to keep this comic a relatively T & A free as possible? Features a framing story that leads into introductions of the main characters of their superhero universe.

Top Shelf Productions

Owly and Friends!
Notes: Short stories featuring Owly, Korgi, Johnny Boo, and Yam. Really great for kids.

Twomorrows Publishing

Comics Go Hollywood
Notes: An interesting mix of articles including the 1984 X-Men movie that never was, and Jack Kirby's projects for motion pictures.

Viper Comics

Kid Houdini and the Silver Dollar Misfits
Notes: Previews of Kid Houdini & The Sleepy Truth

Virgin Comics

Free Comic Book Day 2008
Notes: Previews of The Stranded & Dan Dare

Viz Media

Shonen Jump Special 2008
Notes: Features three stories, including Naruto.

Wildcard Ink

Gumby Free Comic Book Day Edition
Notes: This is the first time I've read any of the issues of this new Gumby series spearheaded by Bob Burden, and I must say I like the blend of kids comic with an edgy, underground feel.

Wizard Entertainment

How To Draw: Free Comic Book Day Booklet
Notes: Selections from their How To Draw Comics book.

Yen Press

Maximum Ride: The Manga
Notes: Preview of the manga series by James Patterson. Yen Press is part of the Hachette Book Group.


  1. Wow. I went to two local shops and only about half of these were available. I did get the Heroclix Iron Man though, which is funny since I don't know even what Heroclix is other than some sort of superhero game.

  2. My shop is gradually becoming very anti-Free Comic Book Day because they just don't wanna be bothered chucking all the books they get stuck with (which I find surprising since they're right next to the movie theater and FCBD is ALWAYS timed with a comicbook movie and I KNOW the kids pour into that place after). So as a result their offerings get fewer and fewer every year. This year, they only had the more mainstream books, which sucked since there were a few I wanted to check out. Luckily I got an E-Mail that X-World comics was offering a FCBD bundle at a reduced shipping rate so I snagged that.

    What I shoulda done was tell my shop to give me all their leftovers and I woulda made sure they appropriate ones find their way into the hands of kids. Next year I'll do that. I shoulda also gave them this stack of Beowulf freebies I got stuck with after a release party last year. Bad enough I buy all the comics I do, now I'm a comic dumping ground!

  3. Wow, I didn't realise they were drawn from such a long list! My bf went to Forbidden Planet in Belfast and everyone got the same bag - Spider-Man, Superman, something Manga (hope it's Maximum Ride), Sonic, Transformers, EC Horror, Simpsons, Broken Trinity and, I'm told, something with a hard-to-read title. Though (like everyone, probably) I can see some stuff I'd swap for stuff from that list given the chance, I'm amazed at how many comics we got - I vaguely remember Free Comic Book Day when I was a kid, and being grateful to get one comic. :)

  4. I hit a couple of stores yesterday morning, and was able to find a few of the books you have listed. However, my favorite had to be one you may have missed titled 'Secret Invasion: Saga'. It details the history of the Skrulls and their major appearances within the Marvel universe. It's narrated by Tony Stark, and It can be read for free online at here:

  5. I really enjoyed the Hellboy, X-Men and Superman books. I'm bummed that my shop didn't have the Atomic Robo book though, wonder if I can hunt up a copy somewhere...

  6. I think DC chose All Star Superman because it's the best thing out in comics right now! Every store I went to it was considerably more depleted than any of the other comics.

  7. I was under the impression that All-Star Superman was just good, clean, accessible all-ages fun.

  8. "Some stores threw in DC Universe #0 as a free comic."

    Then they were overcharged. :)

  9. I saw a small girl noticing the little FCBD poster outside my local shop, but then her dad yanked her away. That sucked, because she seemed excited.

    And then I saw another small child inside the shop, to whom I recommended All-Star Superman (he put it back though).

    I think it was a smart move on DC's part, to make that a free comic, because it really is written well, and kids would still be familiar with it.

    At least it wasn't All-Star Batman that was free right?

    I too was surprised by Top Cow's lack of T&A, except I'm still not that enthusiastic about the publisher.

  10. Anonymous5:31 PM

    I just wanted to make sure it was clear that my FCBD Love and Capes is the first printing for that material. The retail edition is published afterwards (and in Diamond this month). For my small company, putting out a new issue rather than a reprint works best.

  11. Yedna, that "Secret Invasion: Saga" book actually came out about a month ago. It was free then too.

  12. Hey - what a coincidence - on FCBD, I made a tour of all the comic book shops around Charleston, SC.

    Um, both of them.

    I did get some cool stuff, thoguh.

  13. hey this is doc from the itunes podcast: Heroes of Science Fiction and Fantasy, thanks for taking time to make this great list. Episode 23 features an interview with Joe Field Founder of Free Comic Book Day. Joe talks about what his store Flying Color Comics has planned, the history of Free Comic Book Day, Fantastic Four 286, meeting and later working for Stan Lee, and the Will Eisner Spirit of Comic Retail Award. Mr. Field does the prep. necessary for success, looks like the stores in your area did the same. website voicemail 1-206-333-1297

  14. Thomz,

    That was a solid story to use for Love and Capes for free comic book day. I’d run into the title before but was turned off by the transparency of the word balloons. But I was going through the small press box, said I already read Maintenance, and pulled out Love and Capes instead. Well done and an excellent moment in the series to use for the day.

    A title worth checking out, kids. I’ll be throwing some money in that direction, myself. (The balloons still bug me – the story just managed to override that).

  15. The Aspen comic is now the holder of the "Rob Liefeld Image" legacy. While I was trying to figure out the difference between the Aquaman-wannabe and his friend, I turn the page, and lo and behold, the second panel is a stereogram! Both heads are the same, as if one was cut-and-pasted next to the other. The Assistant is an interesting idea, but not my cuppa.

    Maintenance was a good story, but a horrible introduction. Who are these guys? Oh... they are janitors for mad scientists and supervillains?

    Love and Capes was the best, a regular comic for free, as was the Graphic Classics issue. Tiny Titans had too many fanboy injokes, which would probably confuse kids. (Are there two wonder girls? I understand the parent gags set up, but didn't know they were the parents.)

    Hellboy was fun, but the middle story didn't seem to click. Who is he? What's the big deal about the knife and the thing in the tank?

    The Simpsons manga story was hilarious!

    The Transformers comic was cute. I would watch the cartoon!

    Atomic Robo (etc.) was well done, but this seems to be a robotic Hellboy...

    Wizard presents one of their few titles which is all ages... and it seems to be a repeat from last year. I've seen these lessons before, and I don't read Wizard...

    NASCAR was okay, although the "secret" of the story seems confusing.

    Owly was lots of fun, wish the trades were in hardcover for libraries.

    Moth was interesting and fun.

    Got more to read, as I got most of them too. (Once I visited every store--ugh. Now I visit a few, and have one store hold them all for me, in exchange for a donation to the CBLDF.)

  16. It's too bad you couldn't find a copy of Neotopia. I saw copies at 2 DC-area stores (EG Comics and Big Planet comics, both in Vienna, VA), and really picked it up out of curiousity as to what an Antarctic Press comic would contain. This was a completely bold move on AP's part, putting out a full-color digest for FCBD. The story was vast, the art was beautiful, and it seemed like they just took what might have been overprint stock and stuck a "Free Comic Book Day!" sticker over the UPC code, making it a pretty great deal for $0! I'm a Marvel Zombie by upbringing, enjoy a good number of serial titles these days (Fables, Walking Dead, Ex Machina, The Sword), and was really impressed with AP's offering. This is something I could safely give my 8 year old, who would love the storyline, but still enjoy myself, appreciating the art and overall universe Rod Espinosa is creating.

  17. So, no full-frontal nude shots of Picasso this time?

  18. Anonymous5:15 PM

    "I’d run into the title before but was turned off by the transparency of the word balloons."

    People either love them or hate them. Issue #7 did print a little dark for my tastes, and steps are being taken to make sure that doesn't happen again.