FCBD 2016: All Ages – Younger Kids

There were 16 FCBD Silver books this year that I’d consider “all ages”.  The best part about all ages books is that usually adults can often find something to enjoy as much as the kids. 8 seemed to skew towards younger readers, which we’ll cover here.  The other 8 seemed to be more suited for readers in the 10 and up range, and those will be covered in the next installment of the ComicSpectrum FCBD Review Extravaganza.   The specific age ranges will vary by child and parent.  Parents, you should page through any of these comics before giving them to your child to determine if they are suitable based on your personal judgement.

Most of the younger reader titles seem to be leveraging known properties; cartoons, video games, and internet sensations.  We’ll take a look at the 2 original concepts first and then move to the ones you may have already heard of.

Remember, these comics are free to you as a fan, but are NOT free to your comic shop.   Shops pay some amount of money for each of these comics you carry away with you, so browse around at your local comic shop and buy a few comics while you’re there picking up your FCBD selections!  Get to your shop early for best selection as many shops will run out of free comics later in the day.  Find local shops participating in FCBD here: http://www.freecomicbookday.com/storelocator   You can give your shop a call to see if they will be carrying any of these Silver books you’re interested in, not all shops will carry all Silver books.


CREDIT: Graphix Spotlight

Dream Jumper Book One: Nightmare Escape FCBD 2016 Edition (Graphix Spotlight)
Rating: 4/5 – Running From Your Dreams.

by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.

This was a fun story with a kid, Ben, “waking up” inside a dream and travelling through a series of encounters that were fun and so mildly scary that I don’t think they would scare even the most squeamish of children.  Looks like a good comic for a parent to read with their child at bedtime, the full-length book will be available in July.



CREDIT: Nobrow

Hilda And The Stone Forest FCBD 2016 Edition (Nobrow)
Rating: 4/5 – Hilda is Original and Fun! 

by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.

This comic has 3 stories. In the first Hilda and her pet, Twig (a cat-like creature with tiny antlers) chase a walking patch of ground and end up meeting stone trolls on the other side of the wall that keeps her town safe.  Sounds weird?  It is, in a good way.  This is a hard to describe book, but it was very entertaining and would be great to read with your kids, fantastical fun, but grounded with characters that seem very relatable.  The 2nd story has Akissi and her brother charging local kids 5 francs a head to come in their house and watch Spectreman on TV…but Dad comes home early.  This one didn’t impress me nearly as much as Hilda.  The 3rd story, Fantasy Sports, gives the reader just what the name promises, we start with a kids baseball game and that somehow morphs into a fantasy story.  The transition between the 2 was kind of abrupt and lost me.  Of the 3 stories, Hilda is 5/5 as a standalone, I’d highly recommend seeking it out to read with your kids.  The other 2 are worth a look and they might work better for you and your kids than they did for me.


DC SuperHero Girls


DC Super Hero Girls #1 FCBD 2016 Edition (DC)
Rating: 4.5/5 – DC Heroes Attending High School in Costume.

by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.

This is the 1st 22 pages of the upcoming DC Superhero Girls “Finals Crisis” OGN.  It features animation-inspired art by Yancey Labat about female DC heroes  in a high school setting.  We get to see the likes of Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Supergirl, Harley Quinn, and more in a “what if all kinds of DC super heroes and villains all were kids in school and attended class wearing their costumes” type of story.  Fun and nothing objectionable, perfectly suited to a young female readership, though I can see older readers enjoying this from the standpoint of being able to pick out all the Easter egg appearances of characters and items from DC comics lore.  This is the standout pick for the page, it combines familiar characters, Easter eggs for long-time fans, and an abundance of fun.


Grumpy Cat

CREDIT: Dynamite

Grumpy Cat (And Pokey!) Special FCBD 2016 Edition (Dynamite)
Rating: 4/5 – The Mystifying Internet Sensation Gets a Pretty Entertaining Comic.

by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.

While I don’t personally “get” the appeal of internet sensation Grumpy Cat, I will admit that the cat with the permanent scowl has a definite  appeal to the masses on the internet, people seem to love this feline.  That said, this concept takes the name and notion of Grumpy Cat and turns it into a fairly entertaining humor comic along the lines of the classic funny animal comics of the past.  I would not put this up to the level of Disney comics by some of the masters like Carl Barks, but it’s certainly as entertaining as Disney comics by the more journeyman creators who have worked on the titles, or comics from Fawcett & DC like Tom & Jerry or Fox & Crow.  In this issue Grumpy ends up in a super-hero suit and also as a detective.  If you have kids that like cats give this a whirl.



CREDIT: American Mythology

The Pink Panther #1 FCBD 2016 Edition (American Mythology)
Rating: 3/5 – The New Story Surpasses the ‘Classic’ Reprint.

by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.

The Pink Panther cartoons were popular when I was a kid, REALLY popular.  These silent cartoons with the jazzy music were classics of purely visual humor.  That said, I’m not sure how known the character is to younger people today.  This comic is 2 parts, a new story, purely visual like the classic cartons, by S.L. Gallant, and a reprint from the Gold Key comic from the 1970s.  The new story involves the Panther getting ahold of Thor’s hammer, merriment ensues.  It did a decent job of capturing the flavor of the classic cartoons.  The reprint, for me, did not travel well from the 1970s to today and was probably best left in the back issue bins.  I’m not a fan of the Panther talking, especially when it’s not the most inspired dialogue.  American Mythology would be better served to stick with new material, leaving the reprints to reprint volumes for those interested in that sort of thing.


CREDIT: Archie

Sonic Sampler FCBD 2016 Edition (Archie)
Rating: 3.5/5 – All-Ages Action That is Good Solid Fun.

by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.

Sonic has been running in comics since 1993, 280+ issues, a number of issues uninterrupted by reboots that is larger than anything Marvel or DC is publishing.  Archie has the action formula down for younger readers and seem to be doing something right.  I didn’t get the feeling that it was “talking down” to the readers, a feeling I sometimes get in super-hero comics aimed at younger readers that seem like watered down versions of the characters.  Well worth checking out of you have a kid who is into action, is familiar with the Sonic characters, or just wants a comic that is good solid fun


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CREDIT: Bongo/United Plankton Pictures

Spongebob Freestyle Funnies FCBD 2016 Edition (Bongo)
Rating: 4.5/5 – The Next Best Thing to Silver Age Aquaman.

by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.

Spongebob has been around for years, my kids watched it when they were younger it was always a show where I could not stand to be in the room when it was on.  That said, I’ve read some of the comics over the years and they are passably funny.  It seems like they will generally have more appeal to fans of the show, like with the lead story in this issue that has Spongebob struggling to make lots of Krabby Patties for seniors coming into the Krab Shack for ½ cent off senior discount day.  The gem in this issue was the story in the back half of the issue, “Bedlam in Bikini Bottom”, written by Evan Dorkin.  The story stars Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy, thinly veiled homages to the silver age Aquaman and Aqualad, even MORE thinly veiled as drawn in this issue by silver age artist supreme Ramona Fradon!  It felt like I was watching one of the old Aquaman cartoons from the Superman-Aquaman Hour, or as Mermaid Man exclaims: “Pulsating Piranhas”!  If you’re a fan of silver age fun, grab this issue, you’ll be glad you did!


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Strawberry Shortcake #0 FCBD 2016 Edition (IDW)
Rating: 4/5 – So Cute It Hurts…

by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.

If you have a little girl, you need to get this comic for her.  Even if you have an older girl who loved Strawberry Shortcake when she was younger or are an adult who once loved these fruit-themed icons of cuteness.  Amy Mebberson nails the art in this issue, it’s so cute I had to keep reading.  I’m about as far from the target demographic for this as you can get, but I can recognize a well-executed comic when I see one.  Really nicely done comic from IDW’s kids comics family, that includes Disney and My Little Pony.  IDW is doing a lot to make sure younger readers have quality comics to read when they visit the comic shop.

That’s it for this time.  In the next installment I’ll cover some the rest of the FCBD all-ages fare, this time for readers just a bit older.

Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
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This entry was posted in American Mythology, Archie, Bongo, DC, Dynamite, Graphix Spotlight, IDW, Nobrow, United Plankton Pictures and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to FCBD 2016: All Ages – Younger Kids

  1. Pingback: Free Comic Book Day 2016: A Comic Fan’s Holiday… | ComicSpectrum – Bob's Blog

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