The price for these comics has dropped down to nothing at all!
On May 3, 2014, Free Comic Book Day 2014 will be upon us. This is one of my favorite days of the year, the time when scores of comic book stores across the country give free specially published issues to any and all interested parties. The comics created just for this day will serve as titilating tidbits of the wider world of comics just waiting out there for curious onlookers and cheap (in this case, free!) thrills for those already indoctrinated into the world of four-color funny papers. As is my custom every year, I plan to visit a few of my favorite local comic book stores to see what they have to offer. I’ve looked at the online list of this year’s comics and have chosen a few stand outs in my mind that I will be looking out for. The 2014 field looks very promising to me, to say the least. Here’s a few of my top picks.
Archie Digest #1
Archie is one of the very first comic book characters I ever encountered and grew to love reading about. The adventures he, Betty, Veronica, Jughead, and the rest of the residents of Riverdale have remained near and dear to me, and I am very interested in seeing what this over 180-page compilation of tales has in store for us all. This little book will pack a lot of content and, even better, offer wholesome all-ages humor with a character who has delighted readers for nearly a century. Definitely a good combination in my book!
DC Comics: The New 52: Future’s End
Why does this issue need two colons in its title? I’m not sure either, but after reading the premise for this unusual offering from one of the oldest comic book publishers, I feel inclined to give it a look. A few years ago, DC pulled the plug on its expansive comic book universe and started over from scratch. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and the rest of the DC superhero community embarked on more grand adventures, ready to tell new stories set much earlier in their careers. They’ve been publishing new stories for a while now, but of course, a new menace will arise in this issue to threaten them all. A slew of evil cyborgs will be unleashed in the DC Universe’s future, and it’s up to Terry McGinnis, the new Batman of this far-off time (and star of the Batman Beyond TV show and comics, both which I think are equally awesome), to stop them. This issue is actually the starting point for a year-long weekly series in which the robots escape from the future and travel to DC’s present to mess with the lives of our favorite heroes. Curiouser and curiouser…
Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers
Okay, kids, time for a pop quiz. This consistently successful TV franchise based on popular Japanese superhero and monster shows has just celebrated a milestone 20th anniversary year. What do you do to mark such a special occasion? Apparently, the answer is to put out a new comic story featuring the first, and arguably the best, incarnation of this powerhouse property. That’s right, the original Rangers are back in all their action-packed, acrobatic, multicolored spandex glory and ready to stop the radically rougish plans of those king and queen meanies Lord Zedd and Rita Repulsa for the umpteenth time. I’ve seen the preview art for this story, and I think it looks fantastic; true to the original show with faithful representations of these beloved characters. As my Power Rangers-loving cousin (I probably ought to get an extra copy for him, too) would say, “It’s morphin’ time!”
Kaboom! Summer Blast
This is one of several anthology-type titles available for perusal on Free Comic Book Day, and the selection of stories and characters in it appeals greatly to my sensibilites. A few Cartoon Network shows are represented in this collection: if you’re a fan of Adventure Time, Regular Show, or Steven Universe, then I think you’ll certainly love their being featured here. Peanuts and Garfield are also on hand; Kaboom publishes comic book series based on both of these great newspaper comic strips, but I have yet to check them out for myself so this will be a good sampler for me. An original character, Herobear, and a few other mystery stories round out the issue. An ecclectic collection to be sure, but one, I feel, is worth seeking.
Walt Disney’s Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck: A Matter of Some Gravity
The Disney comics put out for FCBD every year are a frequent selection for me. They typically contain reprints of classic comics from the ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s by the great Carl Barks, the “good duck artist.” He created Scrooge McDuck and is someone I feel made Disney comic books so much fun for many generations of readers. This year’s comic is no exception, featuring as its main tale an account of when Scrooge, Donald, and their nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie encounter the devious Magica De Spell and are struck with a gravity-altering spell. I can’t wait to see how this one ends. In addition, this issue has two unique covers; both variations on a gag involving Scrooge and his family walking across the cover to confront Magica. I love looking at gimmicky covers like these. Iwonder where the artist got the idea to draw something so amazing.
For the second year in a row, the greatest spaceman in comics, I believe (besides Flash Gordon), returns to FCBD with more crazy retr0-futuristic escapades. I loved last year’s showcase of classic comic strips from the ’30s featuring Buck and his buddies and baddies, and this year will provide more of the same. One thing in these strips I’m really curious about, however, is the stamp and coin-trading game presented in the last panel of each strip. Each week, a series of stamps and coins featuring the strip’s characters would be available for readers to cut out from their newspapers. You could trade them with your friends and check their values each week. Which combination of stamps and coins will prove the most profitable with this issue’s storylines? There’s also a space rocket race between Earth and Mars as a last-panel feature in this issue as well; I think it is a really novel concept for a time when such technology was still in its infancy. Cool beans, that’s all I’ve got to say!
Spongebob Freestyle Funnies
Yes, Spongebob Squarepants does have his own comic book, and this year, he’s a featured FCBD character! This issue contains a number of wacky sea stories from the good people at United Plankton Pictures, the same production company that makes the Spongebob TV show. It’s amazing to me that these TV guys could make such a high-quality comic, but from the scant few issues I’ve seen of the regular comic, they’ve succeeded numerous times! Even better, most of the stories in this issue are written and illustrated by former contributors to Nickelodeon Magazine who worked with a variety of Nick shows and characters, Spongebob included. The Nick Mag comics section was a favorite of mine when I was younger, and I’m super happy that it’s back in a new form, and on FCBD, no less!
Overstreet Comic Book Marketplace
FCBD is about more than just comics, you know! It’s also a great place to release special mini-magazines about comic book collecting. This special issue from the makers of the famous Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide contains info-packed articles about various notable anniversaries, including Batman’s 75th and the 20th of the comic book company Shi. One other article caught my eye: an overview of comic book reboots (basically when a series starts over from issue 1) and the best ones to collect. Outstanding stuff!
Bleeding Cool Magazine (not my favorite title, but beggars can’t be choosers, I guess)
Bleeding Cool Magazine is another mini-mag like Comic Book Marketplace with more generic articles about collecting comics, but it does have an in-depth look at the Amazing Spider-Man 2 movie. It also contains price guides of its own for various characters and notable titles. I already own some price guides, but they’re a few years old. I am curious to see if and how the prices of the comics in my collection have changed, so this one’s a must-have for me.
These are but a few of the many fantastic selections I’m interested in for Free Comic Book Day in 2014. What do you think about this magical time? If you’re planning on participating this year, which titles are you going to check out? Let me know in the comments. FCBD is a day that I always look forward to, and I think many families could have the same kind of fun that I have. So, take your family and friends out to your local comic book stores on May 3 and see what you can find (and ask about special sales the store might have for the day; FCBD can result in some amazing bargains). If you’re reading this after May 3, visit a comic book store anyway! Sometimes they have left over issues they’d still like to give away, as well as some other freebies here and there. Enjoy Free Comic Book Day everyone, and spread the word!