FCBD 2016: Something A Little Different

There are so many different kinds of comics, something for every kind of fan.  We’ve all seen super-heroes, they are the external face of the industry.  When someone thinks of comics the first thing that jumps to mind are costumed heroes, and there are lots of great super-hero comics out there.  But as much as I love super-heroes and appreciate the place that licensed TV/movie, toy, and video game tie-ins play in potentially bringing new readers into comic shops my favorite comics these days are the ones that fall into the “something a little different” category.  In this installment of the ComicSpectrum FCBD 2016 Review Extravaganza I’ll be covering 6 books that feature stories and art that most people would not expect when they think of comics.  I’ve got experience with several of them, but found some new things here too.  If any of these sound interesting based on the reviews, ask your local shop to get them for you if they don’t already have copies on the rack.

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.



Help The CBLDF… Defend Comics FCBD 2016 Edition (CBLDF)
Rating: 4.5/5 – Free Speech is the Focus in these Short Sample Stories

by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is a great cause that every comic fan should be aware of.  They step in and help fight for the First Amendment rights of the comics art form, across the community of creators, retailers, publishers, libraries, educators, and readers.  This comic is well worth picking up.  It’s hard to do cogent reviews of short stories without falling into descriptions almost as long as the stories themselves, but I’ll generalize by saying I enjoyed every offering in this comic, and the properties that I was previously unfamiliar with are now on my radar and I’ll be looking for more from these creators.
We have a story from Lucy Knisely about “speaker’s Corner” in London.  I was familiar with Knisley’s work from her book “Relish: My Life in the Kitchen” out from First Second.  We have Andy Runton’s Owly (published by First Second), James Kochalka’s Johnny Boo (published by Top Shelf) learning that ideas are nothing to be afraid of….and several others.  If you’d like something a bit different, both in art style and story focus, grab a copy of this book and give it a read, it could point you to some really great stories and creators  that you may have never known about otherwise.



CREDIT: Fantagraphics

Love And Rockets Sampler FCBD 2016 Edition (Fantagraphics)
Rating: 5/5 – Maggie & Fritz Each Get a Story, a Nice Intro to the L&R Mythos

by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.

Love and Rockets is a legend of indie comics.  It has been around since 1982 and has grown and developed over the years, the characters aging and moving in and out of relationships as life just happens.  This comic does a great job of setting the stage with a text piece describing the L&R world, and then gives a story from each of Los Bros Hernandez’ story milieu.  Jaime’s World gives us a story with Maggie & Hopey while Gilbert’s World focuses on Fritz (Luba’s sister).  In my personal opinion, indie books don’t get any better than this, but your mileage may vary.  It’s worth picking this book up just to get a view into the world of Love & Rockets.  It’s slice of life with plenty of love (but actually no rockets).
NOTE: This is a “Mature Readers” title


March Trilogy Sampler FCBD 2016 Edition (Top Shelf)
Rating: 5/5 – A Masterpiece of the Comics Artform.

by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.

I call March a masterpiece, and I don’t toss that label around lightly.  The first Volume of March was my favorite comics work of 2013.  Volume 2 was just as good, and I’m looking forward to Volume 3 completing the tale that will be out in August 2016.  This is a story about the struggle for civil rights told by a man who was on the front lines with Dr. Martin Luther King.  Congressman John Lewis tells his story, ably assisted by his aide Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Simpson.  The writing is from the heart and really helped me appreciate the struggle that went on so many years ago.  The fight for rights is by no means complete, there is still injustice in the world, but I think the way these people went about organizing and executing their non-violent campaign for change is still a template that can work.  Move off the internet and get out and do something in real life when you see things that are wrong that you feel passionately about righting.  John Lewis tells a story about making a difference.  And people who are making a difference are something that is still needed in the world today.  This one gets my “pick of the page”, everyone should read March.  You can start here with this FCBD comic if you’ve never experienced March before; there are sample excerpts from all three volumes.



CREDIT: Drawn & Quarterly

Mooncop: A Tom Gauld Sampler FCBD 2016 Edition (Drawn & &Quarterly)
Rating: 4.5/5 – Dry Humor Shining a Light on the Modern Human Condition.

by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.

I’ve never read something by Tom Gauld before, but after reading this comic, I’m going to be seeing out his work.  He has a simple style, but that makes it no less charming that more highly rendered work by other artists.  The first half of this issue is a long excerpt from Gauld’s upcoming MoonCop OGN that focuses on a police office on the moon in the days as the lunar colony is being shuttered as many people have decided to move back to Earth.  Dryly humorous is the best description I can place to it.  The second half of the issue has shorter gag strips from books that Gauld already has on the shelf.  These take a gaze at technology and modern life and juxtapose them into other settings.  An example that tickled my funny bone is the suggestion that there are previously unknown chapters to “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” involving things like Charlie fending off an aggressive takeover attempt by Nestle and renegotiating contracts with the Oompa Loompa Unions.  I was smiling ear to ear reading this, and am going to be buying more of Gauld’s work.



CREDIT: Th3rd World Studios

The Stuff of Legend Preview FCBD 2016 Edition (Th3rd World Studios)
Rating: 4/5 – Re-presenting the FCBD Comic That Started the Franchise.

by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.

Stuff of Legend got its start in a FCBD comic back in 2010.  4 Volumes later, with the 5th volume on its way in a few months, the franchise is still going on.  If you’ve never experienced the story this is the perfect place to give it a look.  A child is snatched from his room by a mysterious dark force (the Boogeyman) and his playthings (a toy soldier, teddy bear, jack-in-the box, etc.) band together with his puppy to go save him.  This story has a lot of charm and is a must read for fans of fantasy fiction.



CREDIT: Black Mask

We Can Never Go Home/Young Terrorists FCBD 2016 Edition (Black Mask)
Rating: 4.5/5 – A Perfect Primer for These Two Edgy Comics Series.

by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.

I cannot recommend this one highly enough; I’m a big fan of both series.  The 1st story focuses on a couple of teenagers who are shacking up in a hotel room at the same “No Tell Motel” that series stars Duncan and Madison are staying at in the regular “We Can Never Go Home” series.  The same snappy dialogue from the main comic and a hint that we may be seeing these new characters again when the series returns later in 2016.  In the 2nd story from “Young Terrorists” we get some truly brutal insight into Sera’s upbringing as well as a vignette with her in the Camp Guernica fighting pits.  Both stories do a decent job of standing on their own and don’t require having read the main comics.  If you like what you see here, you’re getting a perfect picture of what is in store for you in the comic series.  If your shop was actually carrying this FCBD comic there’s a good chance they also are a shop that also carries the main series from Black Mask, though those may sell out, so it’s a good idea to ask them to order these for you or add them to your pull list if you don’t see any issues on the rack.
NOTE: This is a “Mature Readers” title

33 down, 17 to go…   I can do it!!!

Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
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This entry was posted in Black Mask, Drawn&Quarterly, Fantagraphics, First Second, Th3rd World Studios, Top Shelf and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to FCBD 2016: Something A Little Different

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

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