Free Comic Book Day - 3 May 2003
April 25, 2003 7:14 AM   Subscribe

It's Free Comic Book Day again on May 3rd, 2003. As the name implies, Free Comic Book Day is a single day when participating comic book shops across North America and around the world are giving away comic books absolutely free to anyone who comes into their stores.
posted by blue_beetle (26 comments total)
Worst. holiday. ever.
posted by planetkyoto at 7:30 AM on April 25, 2003

Free Comic Book Day is great for kids because they don't realize that the free Spider-Man or Star Wars comic that they're getting is actually really sucky. But I'm for anything that increases the readership of comics books, especially if it means someone will spend enough time in a comic shop to realize that there's more to it all than just men in tights.
posted by Robot Johnny at 7:44 AM on April 25, 2003

I didn't even realize there was such a thing until just recently. I took my 6yo son into a local store to get a new kids comic, as he is just learning to read and comics are great for that. The owner of the store was there and gave my son a pack of comics left over from last years free comic book day, and totally made my sons day - sucky comic books or not. Like RJ said, kids don't know the diff.
And if he learns to treat even the crappy ones good now, then imagine how well he will treat the good ones, when he is older and we actually let him near his dads collection.
posted by thatothrgirl at 8:30 AM on April 25, 2003

Hey, there's actually some good stuff on this list! The Frank Miller Robocop might be kind of cool. And James Kolchaka! The more kids read him, the better chance we have of having an intersting country to pass on to our descendents. (assuming I stop reading comics long enough to have any....)
posted by lumpenprole at 8:50 AM on April 25, 2003

Got some good freebies this year!

I recommend Courtney Crumrin. It's a kids' book, but the kind adults enjoy, with charming art and writing that get better with each issue. It's odd that, with as many "adult" comics as there are these days, I'm enjoying the "kids' fare" more and more (like Little Gloomy, which you won't free on May 3rd. Does Gloomy's writer read Mefi or what?).

Paul Smith is a genuine talent, and his Leave it to Chance is a freeby. Fans of Smith might remember his beautiful art during the true heyday of the X-Men 20-odd years ago.

And for adults, Slave Labor Stories should be Loads-O'-Fun.

Over twenty years ago people like Bill Sinkiewicz and Frank Miller and even the team of John Byrne/Terry Austin/Chris Claremont (and others) kept me reading comics. Now it's wonderful nutwacks like Peter Milligan and Jamie Delano and Grant Morrison (among others!).

Who keeps you reading comics today?
posted by Shane at 9:15 AM on April 25, 2003

Pretty much Alan Moore and Garth Ennis. And Frank Miller, since I didn't read Sin City the first time around, and I've been catching up recently. For a while I was reading Ruse, until I realized it wasn't going anywhere.
posted by Hildago at 10:26 AM on April 25, 2003

Can anyone recommend another talented writer?
posted by Hildago at 10:29 AM on April 25, 2003

Hildago, I'm somewhat out of the loop these days, but:
Matt Wagner
Larry Marder
Rumiko Takahashi
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 10:40 AM on April 25, 2003

You can download some free comics in pdf form at Oni Press.
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:40 AM on April 25, 2003

Thanks for the recommendations Shane. Does anyone know of any good review websites for non-superhero comics? When you divide total sales by the number of comic shops in North America, it's pretty hard to find the obscure titles in stores. So as much as I hear great things about them here, I can never find anything other than the usual mainstream stuff.

Although, I do enjoy reliving my childhood through the new Transformers comics. They're published by a bunch of good Canadian kids and have fantastic art that would make any 80s-child drool.
posted by Gary at 10:46 AM on April 25, 2003

Can anyone recommend another talented writer?

Brian Michael Bendis, Mark Millar, and Jud Winnick are all very much worth watching.

And a "hell yeah" to Shane on Milligan and Morrison. And Allred.
posted by COBRA! at 11:20 AM on April 25, 2003

I don't keep up much with comics anymore, but Mike Mignola's Hellboy series is one of the best I've read in some time. The stories are schlocky, dark, and sometimes funny; and the artwork is incredible — a gorgeous blend of the traditional superhero style with a more 'goth' sensibility, all clean lines, understated yet intricate at times. Mignola seems to be fond of shadows, gargoyles, tentacled beasts, etc.

I bought a couple issues of the new G.I. Joe series, but didn't get much out of it, I'm sorry to say. I didn't think much of an issue of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen that I picked up, either, but maybe I should have started at the beginning.

Everyone's probably heard of Daniel Clowes, but it doesn't hurt to mention him again. The last issue of Eightball saw his early Mad Magazine-esque style fused brilliantly with his newer, moodier style in a nice riff on the Leopold & Loeb story. Hmm, what else? Joe Sacco's Palestine series is worth reading. I've also been enjoying Chester Brown's Louis Riel series and the few comics I can find by James Sturm. And of course there's always the perennial favorite Love & Rockets...
posted by cobra libre at 11:57 AM on April 25, 2003

Adrian Tomine can be good, as sort of a Dan Clowes-Lite without the hilarious depravity...
posted by COBRA! at 12:02 PM on April 25, 2003

Free Comic Book Day is a single day when participating comic book shops across North America and around the world are giving away comic books absolutely free to anyone who comes into their stores.

No wonder so many of them are going out of business...
posted by laz-e-boy at 12:09 PM on April 25, 2003

Jason Lutes. I can personally vouch for Jar of Fools being an excellent graphic novel.

I may have mentioned Walt Holcombe in a thread similar to this one. I don't remember.

I'm also kind of out of the loop these days, but more as I think of them.
posted by furiousthought at 12:22 PM on April 25, 2003

Great recommendations! ...and thanks to everyone for filling in the obvious people I neglected, like Moore and Bendis (Top Ten and Powers are always on my list, and credit should go to artists Gene Ha/Zander Cannon and Michael Avon Oeming [respectively] for sooo much of the chemistry of these titles. I mean, just look at Powers!: How can so many pages of talking heads be so fantastically spellbinding!? It's Hoodoo, I tellya.) And of course Rumiko Takahashi, Masamune Shirow (More Gods!), and so many others.

Alan Moore is so talented and prolific it's surreal. This is the frightening mind of a Comics God.

I just know I'm going to space a half-dozen recommendations I should make, but at least I plugged Spencer-Millidge's Strangehaven. It's an oft-overlooked gem. The thick graphic novels make for a wonderful afternoon's reading.

Cobra Libre, I remember the first couple issues of Chester Brown's Yummy Fur: Just Freakin' Bizarre, disturbing, very amateur and not entirely enjoyable. He's come a long way.

David Mack. Whoa. A young genius, and a gracious and fun person to meet. And I loved Rick Mays's art on Mack's Kabuki Agents: Scarab, but I missed Mays on the Zatanna one-shot (with Paul Dini and a wonderful cover by Brian Bolland; check out Bolland's site for his gallery and step-by-step tips on his art, all of which is created 100% digitally.)

And more Tank Girl is available! which Hewlett and Martin disown the film, show a great picture of Lori Petti flipping off a camera, and probably mention Gorillaz as well. Collections one and two are the true classics, of course, but three's fun (I don't have 4 yet).

Man, I still know I'm forgetting a buncha talent. But how can you be comprehensive, even about just what's recently on the shelves? Someone mentioned the comics-journalism of Sacco already. Maybe more later, if the thread's still going.

: )
posted by Shane at 1:42 PM on April 25, 2003

*smacks head*

Oh, yeah... Joe Casey's Wildcats 3.0 is very interesting, very strange, and very, very cool to look at.
posted by COBRA! at 1:49 PM on April 25, 2003

Wildcats: I like the older issues with brilliant art by Travis Charest! I heard he got a huge advertising gig for Pepsi in Japan (scroll down).
posted by Shane at 2:01 PM on April 25, 2003

Who keeps you reading comics today?

I've cut back a lot since I left London, but I still try and keep up with:

Warren Ellis
Carla 'Speed' McNeill
Eddie Campbell
AiT/Planet Lar
Alan Moore (still knows the score)
posted by inpHilltr8r at 2:39 PM on April 25, 2003

furiousthought - yeah, good memory with walt holcombe! poot and king of persia were amazing, i wish he drew more comics.

the best single publisher in comics is fantagraphics, home to robert crumb, robert williams, charles burns, chris ware, al columbia, dan clowes, and a ton of others. you will want to google these names on your own, they are all incredible.

the second best publisher is drawn and quarterly, home to joe matt, seth, the incredible chester brown and occasionally archer prewitt and adrian tomine

ties for third: top shelf comics, alternative comics, sparkplug comics
posted by Peter H at 4:05 PM on April 25, 2003

I've re-entered the comics collecting hobby through trade paperbacks and dammit, I DO like men in tights and there's nothing wrong with comics like that you freaks!!!

The thing that got me back into comics about a year ago was Gaiman's The Sandman. When it was being published, it was wayyyyy too embraced by the local goth kiddies for me to truly appreciate it on its own merits. It truly is an amazing work, highly recommended.

I've also gone out and bought all available DC Archive Editions of the Legion of Super-Heroes.

Plus I've been having fun with JLA starting with Morrison's run on the book, which made me fall in love with that wacky senior citizen Brit-type person.

So there!
posted by WolfDaddy at 4:41 PM on April 25, 2003

I've been spending way too much of my time lately on downloading a decade worth of issues that I missed out on.

I quit reading comics when Claremont left the X-Men and Rob Leifeld destroyed the New Mutants. Recently I began to regress mentally, back to the days when comics mattered to me, so I decided to see what has happened since I stopped reading them in '92.


I spent six hours this morning with the worlds largest grin plastered to my skull as I read the complete run of Morrison's New X-Men. God help me, New X-Men may now rank number two behind sex on the list of things that I enjoy with all of my being. The writing is devestatingly beautiful. And don't get me started ranting about how great the Stepford Cuckoos are. When #140 comes out in May, I'll be at the local comic shop first thing that morning to buy it along with the first issue of the new New Mutants series. I may be a comic book junkie once again.

"It's like breathing the electric air of the future!"
posted by bunnytricks at 8:13 PM on April 25, 2003

Bendis is good. Morrison is really good (start with X-Men if you're into Super Heroes, Invisibles if you're not), Ellis, Loeb's batman work, Clowes, Chris Ware, "Box Office Poison" is incredible

Moore, Gaiman, etc.
posted by drezdn at 10:29 PM on April 25, 2003

I stopped by the comic shop yesterday and picked up the usual: X-Statix, Morrison's New X-Men, Capt Marvel (even though ChrisCross didn't do the art)... but I also picked up this, which was well worth it. Artist Alan Davis really is a modern master of the superhero genre. I think I love his art [warning: Geocities!] because it captures the innocent, optimistic, full-of-life essence of superhero comics, the desire to do good and be "super" that probably drew most of us to comics in our youth (not to mention the fluid grace of the human form).

The great thing about Modern Masters: Alan Davis is that it also goes into Davis's influences, even to the point of publishing artwork by Neal Adams and Gil Kane, but also lesser known, older influences like Syd Jordan and Don Lawrence and Gerry Haylock, as well as art from comics rarely seen outside of the UK, such as Grimly Fiendish by Leo Baxendale and robot comic The Iron Man.

If you admire Alan Davis, this is definitely a find.
posted by Shane at 10:45 AM on April 26, 2003

drezdn - i havent read it but i've heard from a ton of people that box office poison isnt so great; many are passionate about it being very dissappointing. why did you enjoy it so much?
posted by Peter H at 4:43 PM on April 26, 2003

drezdn - i havent read it but i've heard from a ton of people that box office poison isnt so great; many are passionate about it being very dissappointing. why did you enjoy it so much?

Rather late reply but... It covered the characters rather in depth, I could sympathize with people, and- as with a good movie- could feel what they were feeling. It might also have something to do with the fact that I work at a bookstore.
posted by drezdn at 12:00 AM on May 13, 2003

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