Free Comic Book Day 2012 was probably the best year yet! There was an amazing selection of independent and small-press comics available for new and old fans alike! Even better for retailers, at both locations I visited, the cash register was ringing almost continuously as people made purchases to compliment their free comics.
First stop of the day was Floating World in downtown Portland. I cannot recommend this shop enough for people who love independent comics. Jason, the owner, has the shop laid out to highlight independent, small press, and self-published books. It is the perfect place to go if you are looking for something different than capes and tights (although he does have those as well).
I had contacted Jason ahead of time to see if I could deliver cookies for FCBD. Johanna Draper Carlson had challenged me to actually make cookies since I liked the idea of free cookies for FCBD so much. Not one to back down from a challenge, I baked up some chocolate chip cookies to be handed out with the comics.
When I arrived I was worried there would not be enough cookies. there were already people lined up at the door a half hour before the shop opened! By the time Jason opened the door at 11:00 there were over twenty people waiting! We dropped off the three-dozen cookies we baked and headed for the free comics. (I will get the the reviews in a bit, but let me say that damn near everything looked appealing!).
I supplemented my free comics with a copy of Jeffrey Brown’s new Star Wars comic, Darth Vader and Son, as well as a copy of Mind the Gap #1. I also picked up the latest issue of Adventure Time for my youngest daughter who was with me delivering cookies.
Then we were off to I Like Comics in Vancouver to see Pete and Rebecca Woods who were doing a signing. The place was packed, and Pete and Rebecca signed comics and did sketches for over two hours! I dropped off some cookies for them and then went to help the kids (we now had three kids in the group) fill up a short box of bargain comics. Looks like they have enough reading material to get the summer started right!
But what about the free comics????
The comic I was most excited to see was the Valiant 2012 sampler. I was late to the first wave of Valiant comics. By the time I warmed to them, they were quarter-bin fodder. I scooped up long runs of Solar, Ninjak, and Magnus Robot Fighter. But my favorite of them all was X-O Manowar. So I was a little disappointed when I read the FCBD issue and saw that, despite the fact that X-O is on the cover, we never see the armor. We get 6 pages of story. That’s it. Granted, it is exciting and interesting, but if I were new to the Valiant world, this would not get me interested in X-O in the least. There would just not be enough to bring me back. Dito for the Harbinger story. The FCBD book could have been used much better. Half the book was creator interviews and scripts. That space would have been much better served showing us the actual comics instead of behind the scenes looks at something that has yet to have a “scene”.
The only thing more beautiful than the packaging and presentation of the Hardcover book from Archaia was the content within. Original, self-contained tales from Mouse Guard, Rust, Cursed Pirate Girl, The Dapper Men, Labrynth, and Cow Boy made this the must-have book of the day. Forget everything I have ever said about books that will convert non-believers in to comic lovers. THIS is the book that will give people pause and make them take a second look at what comics can and should be. I normally do not advocate supporting the speculators and buying FCBD books on line, but I will make an exception in this case. Do whatever it takes to get a copy of this book!
Oni’s Bad Medicine by Nunzio Defilippis and Christina Weir, with art by Christopher Mitten was the antithesis of the Valiant effort. This book was an opening salvo in a mystery story that has me hooked! It is a complex story that Oni chose to give away for free, knowing that people would be hooked. had they only given away a five page preview there is not much of a chance that it would distinguish itself. But distinguish itself it did! The characters are vivid, the mystery is intense, and the art is gritty! What a great read!
I will be back tomorrow to break down more of the books from FCBD!
What did you get on FCBD?