TOP

Six free comics we can’t wait to get our hands on today

by  in Comic News Comment

Free Comic Book Day is once again upon us, the day that current and hopefully potential comic fans flock to their local comic shop to sample a buffet of comic choices from publishers large and small. There’s a lot to sink your teeth into this time around, from previews of new or upcoming stuff — like Marble Season and Superman: The Last Son of Krypton #1 to first issues of brand new comics — like The Strangers #1 and Aphrodite IX #1. There are original comics, licensed comics, kids comics, anthologies … basically something for everyone.

Some retailers will offer all-you-can-eat options, while others might have limits on what you can get … so if you have to make a choice, here are six comics we’re particularly looking to sink our teeth into.

Free Comic Book Day is once again upon us, the day that current and hopefully potential comic fans flock to their local comic shop to sample a buffet of comic choices from publishers large and small. There’s a lot to sink your teeth into this time around, from previews of new or upcoming stuff — like Marble Season and Superman: The Last Son of Krypton #1 to first issues of brand new comics — like The Strangers #1 and Aphrodite IX #1. There are original comics, licensed comics, kids comics, anthologies … basically something for everyone.

Some retailers will offer all-you-can-eat options, while others might have limits on what you can get … so if you have to make a choice, here are six comics we’re particularly looking to sink our teeth into.


2000AD FCBD

by John Wagner, Henry Flint, Andy Diggle, Pat Mills, John Smith, Alan Davis, Dan Abnett, Matt Smith, Ben Willsher, Al Ewing, Kev Walker, John Smith, Edmund Bagwell, Jamie Delano and more (Rebellion)

Even if this year’s 2000AD FCBD edition had been all reprint, it still would have been worth picking up just for its jaw-dropping cover art.  Henry Flint mightn’t be one of the venerable old anthology’s more bankable stars in the U.S., but he’s rightfully regarded as a mad genius by his peers. This beauty hits three of his recurring themes in one cover, being a little bit horrific, a little bit psychedelic, and showcasing his ability to effortlessly mimic the styles of other artists for his own nefarious intent.  However, this showcase for Flint continues inside with a new ‘Zombo’ strip written by another of the prog’s talents deserving of wider recognition, Al Ewing. Again, it’s simultaneously psychedelic, horrific and may be the most joyously sarcastic thing you’ll read all year, making this freebie entirely essential.  There’s also a new ‘Dredd’ strip, written by editor Matt Smith and drawn by Ben Willsher, having a little fun at the expense of those increasingly spotted cosplayers dressing up as Mega City Judges.


The choice of reprint material also impresses: a taster of the John Smith/Edmund Bagwell ‘Indigo Prime: Anthropocalypse’ collection (again giving me the chance to say, holy cow, check out Bagwell’s art!); a short story by Andy Diggle and Kev Walker that reminds me that, as good as the work Walker produces for Marvel has been these last few years, he always saves his best work for 2000AD; and a lesser-spotted Jamie Delano/Alan Davis ‘D.R. and Quinch’ one-pager. There’s a lot more in it, too: classic thrills and new work that fully deserves the new audience Free Comic Book Day can deliver.  This is a brilliantly curated introduction to a comic that is currently well into its third golden age, and on a day of fantastic bargains, this one may well be the best value of them all. —Mark Kardwell


The Walking Dead

by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn (Image Comics)

Image Comics has two Free Comic Book Day offerings this year — Top Cow’s Aphrodite IX #1, the first issue of a new ongoing series, and The Walking Dead, which collects four short stories starring various current and former members of the cast. Three of those stories have appeared elsewhere — the ones featuring Michonne, The Governor and Morgan — but the one starring the alive-in-the-TV-show but dead-in-the-comics Tyrese is brand new. But hey, since I haven’t read any of them, they’re all new to me. Per the solicitations, “none of these stories will be reprinted in the trade paperbacks,” so if you’re a Walking Dead completest, this is one you’ll want to bite into. —JK Parkin


Molly Danger/Princeless

by Jamal Igle, Jeremy Whitley and Emily C. Martin (Action Lab Entertainment)

Jamal Igle’s successful Kickstarter comes to life with the first appearance of his pre-teen superhero Molly Danger. This has such color, life and charm, you can’t help but smile. It’s a fun superhero romp with all of the visual dazzles and heart you would want, and serves as the perfect primer and teaser for the official launch of Molly Danger and her world.

Jeremy Whitley’s Princeless is an original story that expands the irreverent fantasy world with some new characters. Princess Adrienne helps save Princess Raven from her castle tower prison without the help of a rather repugnant prince. Emily C. Martin, the regular artist on the current Princeless Volume 2, handles this story and it looks just as wonderful.

This pairing makes for a perfect all-ages set that provides great examples of gender equality without heavy-handed preaching, sticking to great characters and great fun. — Corey Blake


The Strangers

by Chris Roberson, Scott Kowalchuk and Dan Jackson (Oni Press)

For several years now, Oni Press has debuted a brand-new, complete first issue on Free Comic Book Day, offering fans a chance to sample the first one and hopefully come back for seconds. This year is no different, as one of their two FCBD offerings is The Strangers, the first issue of a new series written by Chris Roberson, who our own Chris Arrant interviewed this week, with art by Scott Kowalchuk and Dan Jackson.


Roberson, whose iZombie with Mike Allred I miss, has been on a roll since his split from DC Comics, with Memorial and Edison Rex both garnering acclaim. You might remember Kowalchuk from his amazing work on The Intrepids, where he showed off his quirky and cool mod-flavor art — which should fit well with this “swinging sixties supernatural superspies” book. Check out a preview here. —JK Parkin


Mass Effect/Killjoys/R.I.P.D.

by Jeremy Barlow, Peter M. Lenkov, Shaun Simon, Gerard Way, Mac Walters, Garry Brown, Tony Parker, Becky Cloonan, Michael Atiyeh, Michelle Madsen, Dave Stewart (Dark Horse)

Killjoys make some noise! We’ve been waiting an awful long time for The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, Gerard Way’s follow-up to the Umbrella Academy, the tie-in to the album of the same name and his team-up with Shaun Simon and the always incredible Becky Cloonan. We’ve listened to the music, watched the video and enjoyed the teases of artwork. But now, today, we can finally head the comic shop, screaming off our heads like, like … like a bunch of teenagers at a My Chemical Romance concert, and feast our souls on the story of Girl’s battle against the tyrannical police state Battery City. The kind of city with mandatory bed times …


But wait — there’s more! Dark Horse’s second FCBD offering (the first features Star Wars and Avatar!) is actually a multimedia extravaganza, an anthology that cuts across the worlds of music, movies and video games. In addition to the Killjoys, there’s a also a new R.I.P.D. tale just in time for the bigger summer movie, and a Mass Effect tale that stars the Seth Green-voiced Joker, who pilots the Normandy. (Voiced in the game, that is; you have to provide your own voices when you read the comic). It’s kinda his secret origin, actually, so if you’re a fan of the game, be sure to check it out. —JK Parkin


Atomic Robo and Friends

by Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener

Free Comic Book Day has become inextricably linked with Atomic Robo for me these last few years. It’s exactly the kind of comic I want to give to casual comics fans who are looking for something fun, exciting, and different, so Red 5’s offering is always the one I most look forward to. This year’s no different with Jay Fosgitt’s Bodie Troll joining everyone’s favorite, two-fisted robot. Bodie’s an adorable little monster who only wants to be taken seriously by the folks in his village, but the comic is more than just that one gag. Fosgitt’s built in some hilarious supporting characters and created a comic that’s as sweet as it is funny. It’s different enough from Atomic Robo to give the free comic some variety, but fits perfectly with the adventuresome, all-ages tone.

I’ll be picking up my copy at The Source Comics and Games in Roseville, Minnesota. It’s a large, awesome store that always has a huge FCBD celebration with snacks, giveaways (beside the official free comic offerings), a huge sale, and lots of talent from the Twin Cities’ vibrant comics scene. —Michael May

You can find previews of Free Comic Book Day comics right here, and a list of creator appearances and other retail events here.