Sunday, May 10, 2015

Free Comic Book Day 2015

First Saturday in May. Free Comic Book Day. It's like Nerd Christmas, but the weather is better.
Every year the stalwart staff of the Hammond Comics Blog treks across the urban landscape and visits brick and mortar shops for funnybooks and perhaps door prizes and snacks.
A sampling of our collective FCBD loot is reviewed herein.

Reviewer: Art Bee

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Publisher: IDW
Writer: Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow, & Tom Waltz
Art: Mateus Santolouco, Dan Duncan, Ross Campbell, & Cory Smith

This was not the first book I grabbed, but it was the first I read, and it was truly a difficult read. The story was hard to follow mainly due to all of the recapping. I believe this book was to bring new people to reading the ongoing series, but the problem with their approach revolves around their delivery. They are recapping in a language fitting for people familiar to the story line. This made me feel like I walked into a women’s conversation about menstrual cramps. Awkward and out of place.

The artwork shifted from really good to slightly distorted, but the colors were great.
As an aside, I would have really liked to have seen April. She only appears in one small poorly done panel. A huge demerit issued to them from those of us who used to have a massive crush on this fine news reporter.

And Then Emily was Gone #0
Publisher: Comix Tribe
Story: John Lees
Art: Iain Laurie

When I was in high school, a pair of schoolmates were drinking and driving which resulted in them running their truck off the road, colliding into a telephone pole and a tree with a couple of rolls in between. The resulting scene looked better than what is contained in And then Emily Was Dead #0. It does not make sense and the artwork looks horrid. It was truly something to give away. To have paid for this you would have to have severe astigmatism, acute near-sightedness, and a pair of broken glasses.

Fortunately the second half of the comic book contains a preview of Oxymoron: Counterclockwise by Tyler James and Alex Cormack. This was a decent read and the artwork is fantastic. I have never read any Oxymoron comic, but I think I am going to have to start. The character Oxymoron is fantastically heinous. The closest comparison would be the Joker since they are both chaotic and violent.

Alex molds Oxymoron’s facial expressions in great ways. Those expressions are some of the best bits of artwork I have seen lately.

Steampunk Goldilocks #1
Publisher: Antarctic Press
Story and Art: Rod Espinosa

Steampunk is not normally my thing. This spin of the classic fairytale of Goldilocks was pretty entertaining. Goldilocks and her partner Miss Muffet get a job from the Dark Queen, whom no one would dare cross. The Dark Queen wants them to break into the home of the three bears, or Ursiforms, to steal the “Golden Bear”. Goldilocks and Muffet leave in their armored steam tank and go to the bear’s home, where Goldi goes to the door with an awesome looking assault rifle.

That is all you get, but let’s face it. It is the story of Goldilocks.

The artwork is fantastic: voluptuous blonds in low-cut dresses and corsets drawn with generous proportions. What’s not to love?

Reviewer: Cody "Madman" Miller

Lady Justice
Writer: C.J. Henderson
Penciler: Michael Netzer
Inker: Rick Magyar
Colorist: Tony Kelly

Total Shit . . . I could stop there, but I won’t.

Neil Gaiman apparently came up with the concept for the Lady Justice comic , and possibly wrote the first issue of the series and then C.J Henderson took over and wrote most or the rest of the series. I may have just made that up so don’t acknowledge it as fact. The important thing here is it’s not worth splitting hairs over, because the book is awful.
The entire series is apparently being dusted off and released as a collected volume or volumes. Don’t buy it. The story is a flat line and the art is even deader…I’ve said this before: leave the 90’s alone. If it sucked then, it sucks even more now. I hated it so much that even though it was free I still feel ripped off.

Mercury Heat
Writer: William Christensen
Artwork: Omar Francia

Mercury Heat was my favorite read if my FCBD plunder. It’s all about this woman who wants to be a police officer in a futuristic world. As it turns out her personality doesn’t fit within the parameters of police personalities and she is forbidden. So…she moves to the planet Mercury and becomes a mercenary cop, a really ruthless one. It has a real Robocop kinda feel, even though she’s not part machine and neither is her name Murphy . . . It’s been done. That being said the writing wasn’t horrible and the artwork was above average. I have to be honest my favorite part of the book was the what-have-you in that back of the issue where the creative team offers you note pad sketches and a breakdown of life of Mercury. My second favorite thing about this comic was the promo for Alan Moore’s new book Providence. Mercury Heat drops in July but I think I’m going to let this one pass me by. Cops in space are becoming the new zombies . . . I’m tired boss, dead tired.

Reviewer: Will Dubbeld

Bodie Troll/Drone/Creature Academy
Writers: Jay Fosgitt, Scott Chitwood, Kevin Konrad Hanna, David Fagan
Art: Jay Fosgitt, Randy Kintz, Kevin Konrad Hanna, Erich Owen, Grant Bond, Mirana Revier
Publisher: Red 5 Comics

From the studio that brought you Atomic Robo comes Bodie Troll! Whereas Atomic Robo is a superscience, fringe-steampunk action book, Bodie Troll is a cartoonish fantasy romp featuring a cuddly looking bridge troll that bums around a tavern called The Drunken Pumpkin that is managed by a fairy godmother.
I love this book.
Bodie Troll is full of hijinx and family friendly shenanigans worthy of a Saturday morning cartoon, if there still were Saturday morning cartoons. This particular story featured Bodie Troll on an errand to buy more cider for the Drunken Pumpkin only to get drunk on root beer and get married to the brewers daughter in a wedding officiated by a stuffed animal.
Super fun, you guys.

The other two stories in the book were less engaging. Drone is a sci-fi story about a counter-terrorist team composed of remote piloted military androids. The story and art were okay, and it did feature a terrorist goat so it had that going for it. Creature Academy appears to be another variation on the Tim Hunter/Harry Potter/Anakin Skywalker theme of "magic prodigy child is the chosen one", which is played out as far as I'm concerned.

The art on all three stories was great, and despite some of the lacking script content I enjoyed this sampler a great deal.

The Tick
Script: Jeff McCelland, Benito Cereno
Art: Duane Redhead, Les McClaine

Okay, Spoon! and whatnot. Everybody loves Ben Edlunds oafish, nigh-indestructible big blue lover of justice and his hapless (and somewhat nebbish) sidekick Arthur.
Regardless if you discovered The Tick via comic books, a swell cartoon, or an ill-fated live action television show, you love him.

If you don't, you're a terrible person and I'm no longer fond of you.

The 2015 Tick book featured 3 short stories, the first of which dealt with Tick and Arthur saving the city from a big toothy green creature with the help of a kazoo and the ghost of Ticks former sidekick, Roger.

The second story uncovered the mystery of what happened to The Tick at the bottom of pg. 19 in Tick #1.
I have not read Tick #1, but the series doesn't exactly make itself a slave to continuity and multipart sagas, so I was able to keep up.
Apparently Tick has passed out and the following pages chronicle the adventures of his unconscious body as it is used as a skateboard ramp, the ammunition for a uvula smacking device, and the extra body allowing a sinister commuter to use the carpool lane.
Tick awakens and mistakes himself for a choco taco; takes part in a hobo tea party, and finally end up somewhat cognizant of his surroundings in a subway tunnel.

Our final tale details the exploits of Tick and Arthur as they stand in line for the art museum only to be continually pulled away to battle rock-men, supervillains, tidal waves, the Greek god Zeus, and a monkey driving a tank.
As above, fantastic. I love inane superhero books like The Tick, Flaming Carrot, Madman, and Great Lakes Avengers, so this comic was certainly in my wheelhouse.

There you have it, folks. The HCBs assessment of some of the wonders Free Comic Book Day had to offer. I hope you enjoyed it, and if not, you get what you pay for.
We’ll see ya next year, kids!

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