So my girlfriend and I hit up our LCS this past weekend for Free Comic Book Day, which is the day when god looked down from the heavens and said “let all the nerds have unto them the comics which they desire, and verily, shall they be free.” And it was good. Out of the available options, I went with the Kaboom! Summer Blast and Guardians of the Galaxy.
Kaboom! was pretty great. It’s just a collection of shorts from pretty much every one of their properties, from Herobear and the Kid and Peanuts reprints to Regular Show and Adventure Time shorts. I like what they’re going for here, but some of the comics felt like they could have been better. I can’t imagine that Ryan North doesn’t have a short Adventure Time story in him; the guy’s written something like 2,000 comics for Dinosaur Comics that are the same layout every time. I did like that the obnoxious cartoons like Uncle Grandpa and The Amazing World of Gumball are much more palatable, and actually pretty enjoyable in a printed version, minus the screechy-as-hell voice work. Steven Universe was a great love letter to the medium, and pretty true to the show; Peanuts left me cold, as usual (that’s right, I don’t like Peanuts, IF YOU COME AT ME YOU BEST COME CORRECT). And Garfield is Garfield. Are you surprised?
Guardians of the Galaxy felt really phoned-in. I mean, I realize that at this point, three months before the movie comes out, a free Guardians comic is just a commercial for the movie and, slightly less so, the ongoing series. But still, it was JUST exposition on who the Guardians were, and then introduced Agent Venom to them, even though he was in the comic last month (which was apparently just a legitimate scheduling mistake). I’m not sure why Agent Venom is billed as an Avenger... I’m admittedly not current on Hickman’s run, but I didn’t see him anywhere during Infinity, and that feels like a place I would have noticed him. Also, Captain Marvel is only on the cover, so caveat Carol Corps. The backup features were okay. The Thanos one seemed a little bit redundant and didn’t have a whole lot happening in a dramatic sense, and the preview for Spider-Verse mostly just made me wonder if Slott had the stones to straight up kill off Spider-Man again, just as one last spit in the eye.
Overall, I can’t critique the books too harshly because I love the day. I love the spirit of Free Comic Book Day. The important part isn’t that the books are top quality; I mean, come on, they’re free. The important thing is that I walked into my local shop this morning, and there were tons, actual tons of parents with their kids, picking out free books, shopping for other books the kids might like. I picked up a Smurfs comic an adorable little girl dropped, and she might be a fan for life. Just from a Smurfs comic. And the best part is that the owner said, at this point when you couldn’t even navigate the aisles because it was so crowded, that it was the slowest they’d been all day. Free Comic Book Day is good for the business and, most importantly, it’s good for the future fans. I hope you all enjoyed your hauls.