Saturday is the big day for comic book lovers — Free Comic Book Day.
So after you go see “The Avengers,” hit your local comic shop to pick up some of the about three dozen comics specially printed for the event.
Here are the titles I’m most looking forward to. I got to read full previews of some of them. (I love my job!)
You can find the full list at the Free Comic Book Day website, which also includes preview pages for several titles.
“Mouse Guard, Labyrinth and Other Stories” (Archaia): Archaia is going above and beyond this year with a hardcover edition for Free Comic Book Day. It’s packed with stories, including a new “Mouse Guard” tale by Metro Detroit’s David Petersen. The highlight for me was the “Labyrinth” story, since Archaia has done such a great job with “Fraggle Rock” and “Dark Crystal.” The Dapper Men also return in a story that leads into the sequel “Time of the Dapper Men.” It’s rounded out by new stories from Archaia titles “Rust,” “Cursed Pirate Girl” and “Cow Boy.” A gem.
“Atomic Robo” (Red 5 Comics): “Atomic Robo” is one of my favorite series in a long time, and the Free Comic Book Day stories are always a hoot. This year’s is no different and features the return of Doctor Dinosaur when the two need to team up and prevent a rip in the fabric of space-time. (Doctor Dinosaur needs his own series. Really, get on that right now, Red 5!) It’s a great, quirky read. Also included are previews for “Neozoic” (I liked the first miniseries, but I’m not quite sold on this one from this preview) and “Bonnie Lass” (OK, but not my thing).
“The Incredible Rockhead / Zinc Alloy” (Capstone): Capstone previews to graphic novels that look like a lot of fun. “The Incredible Rockhead” turns the classic game of Rock, Paper, Scissors into a game of superpowered silliness in the halls of an elementary school. Why hasn’t this been though of before? It’s an idea right up there with J. Torres’ “Power Lunch.” “Zinc Alloy” is about a boy who creates a giant super robot and really needs to stop saying, “What could possibly go wrong?” Capstone also publishes the fun “DC Super-Pets” books and includes a clip-out mini poster with a ridiculous number of characters.
“The New 52″ (DC Comics): Lots of intriguing previews fill this book. The first half is devoted to “Trinity War,” an event coming next year that includes an origin for the Phantom Stranger and focuses on in the mysterious figure Pandora, who has been floating around the DC Universe for a while now and is tied to Flashpoint. There’s even a fold-out splash page (with the John Stewart Green Lantern, and is that the new Vibe?). The back half gives two-page teasers to the New Wave of titles, including “Dial H” (Boy Chimney — I think I may love this book), “Earth 2″ and “World’s Finest.”
“Finding Gossamyr / Stuff of Legend” (Th3rd World): The company that brought us the rousing “Intrepid EscapeGoat” and the captivating “Stuff of Legend” books returns with this colorful new preview for an upcoming comic. From these pages, “Finding Gossamyr” seems like a fresh, exciting take on the trope of someone from our world getting sent to a fantasy setting, as a brother and sister are sent to a world where “math is magic,” and the boy genius is incredibly powerful. There’s also a preview for the fourth volume of “Stuff of Legend,” which followed toys into their world to protect their owner.
“Superman Family Adventures / Green Lantern / Young Justice” (DC Comics): Fresh off “Tiny Titans,” Art Baltazar and Franco turn to Superman’s cast of characters with this new, upcoming series. Here there’s a short story introducing Supes, and then you can flip it over for a look at books based of the Cartoon Network animated block of “Young Justice” and “Green Lantern: The Animated Series.” The “GL” story is traditionally drawn and not in the computer-animated style. I hope there’s a place for the Legion of Super-Heroes in the new “Superman Family” book.
“Dinosaurs Vs. Aliens” (Liquid Comics): Comic book superstar Grant Morrison works with filmmaker Barry Sonnenfeld to turn the latter’s idea into a graphic novel with artist Mukesh Singh. The FCBD edition is a too-short teaser padded with sketches and a few pages from the comic script. But Singh’s art is exquisite. These, apparently, are sentient dinosaurs, and they like to dress up. And I don’t think the aliens are run-of-the-mill Martians. Liquid also is publishing “Graphic Elvis,” snippets from an upcoming graphic novel that celebrates the King, who, apparently, was a comic fan.
“Image 20″ (Image): Image celebrates 20 years of being an industry upstart with a six-story anthology previewing new titles for this year. I didn’t get an early copy of this one, but it has a “G-Man” story from Chris Giarrusso, so I’ll be grabbing it. Other titles include “Revival,” “Guarding the Globe” (great to see Todd Nauck working, but I want more “WildGuard,” which beat “America’s Got Powers” by several years) and “It-Girl and the Atomics.” At my age, I usually think things can’t possibly have been around as long as they have, but I would have expected longer for Image. Go fig.
“The Hypernaturals” (Boom!): Writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning are no strangers to futuristic superteams from the future, having written for DC’s Legion of Super-Heroes and Marvel’s equivalent, Guardians of the Galaxy. Now they bring their own future superheroes to the page with this new book about the Hypernaturals. This is another book I haven’t seen, but I’ll be grabbing it to see what Abnett and Lanning can do.