I got all the comics save 1 from FCBD this year and I’m going to be taking a look at each of them on my Blog. You can see the 1st 12 comics I read in Part 1. This time around I’m looking at the comics that (with the exception of DC’s Divergence) have roots in movies, TV, and video games. This is an interesting group of comics because they are in many cases more familiar to the casual fan who wanders into a comic shop for FCBD with little or no prior comics reading. Super-Heroes & media tie-ins are key entry points for new readers.
I’m not going to do full detailed reviews. I’m going to look at each and try to give an assessment of whether each comic made me want to seek out and buy more comics. That is, I assume, the purpose of these free comics. They’re teasers to try to get a customer to want more. Let’s see how effective this year’s batch were; my ratings will be as follows:
Buy: This either made me want to buy what comes next, or it looked like it was enough to make “someone who likes this sort of thing” buy more.
Pass: The comic didn’t provide me a compelling amount of material that made me want to follow it to the next level.
Divergence (DC Comics)
Pass: Like with Marvel, I think people bring some baggage with them to DC Comics. There is a certain expectation. After what I thought was a fairly pretentious text piece from DC co-Publishers Dan Didio & Jim Lee talking about “celebrating the past while reinventing the present and propelling our characters and out shared mythology boldly into the future” we get 3 short pieces featuring an armored Batman who is not Bruce Wayne. A bearded Superman who looks like a homeless guy who has been “outed” as Clark Kent by Lois Lane, and an intro of a new villain with serious parallels to Wonder Woman. I’m really not sure how this will play with an audience who wander into a comic shop having no more exposure to DC than movies/TV/cartoons. This is not their DC. It will likely play well with current DC readers, but I’m a lapsed reader and nothing here made me want to go out and buy a DC comic.
Teen Titans Go! / Scooby Doo! Team-Up (DC Comics)
Buy: After the relentlessly dark & grim Divergence comic, here was a comic that was light-hearted and entertaining. Fans of the TT Go animated series should find this to be a continuation of the same fun-filled vibe. In the back half we get the Scooby gang teaming up with the Super-Friends in a story that’s a lead-in to getting someone to purchase a collected edition, and it worked! It made me want to read more of this story!
Bob’s Burgers (Dynamite)
Buy: Targeted at fans of the TV show, this reprints stories from issues #1 thru 5 and seems to capture the look and feel of the animated series. I don’t think this is meant to appeal to people who have never seen the TV show.
Fight Club (Dark Horse)
Buy: A precursor to the Fight Club 2 series by movie creator/writer Chuck Palahniuk. A bit of cognitive dissonance for me in Cameron Stewart’s slightly cartoony style, the art did not click for me with the tone of the movie or David Mack’s cover image. This also has an original Goon story that was pretty great and a story of The Strain. Fans of the movie could be compelled to pick this up and they might actually like the Goon story more than Fight Club!
Avatar: The Last Airbender (Dark Horse)
Buy: An all-ages entry for fans of the super-popular Avatar cartoon series, this also has a story in the world of the Plants vs. Zombies video game and a story of Bandette. I like how Dark Horse pulls readers in with the popular media property and slips in a really nice story that is pure comics. I wish IDW had done this with their media tie-in comics.
Doctor Who (IDW)
Buy: Three new stories featuring 3 doctors; Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth. And an added teaser of the upcoming summer event that crosses these 3 doctors over with one another. This is meant to appeal to fans of the Doctor Who franchise and will likely be impenetrable to people who have not watched the show.
Transformers: Robots in Disguise #0 (IDW)
Buy: A nice animated style on this story that leads into issue #1, coming in July. Yet another comic that aims to capture the interest of a property (Transformers) popularized in media outside comics.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (IDW)
Buy: Finishing up IDW’s trifecta of media properties, I think they are catering to what will be familiar to people who come to FCBD and have not been buying comics. They’ll know these properties popularized on TV. They’ve been putting out some decent stories of the Turtles in the past few years and this could be a great entry point for people who weren’t aware that they were doing new TMNT comics again.
Sonic the Hedgehog/MegaMan Worlds Unite (Archie)
Buy: Sonic & MegaMan are extremely popular characters in both video games, animation, and comics. Archie has been publishing Sonic comics continuously for over 20 years and that doesn’t happen unless they’re doing something right! This is a perfect intro to this summer’s Sonic/Megaman event.
Pokemon (Perfect Square)
Pass: Hooked into a larger story and nothing happens in this. I had my son give me a second opinion on this and he agrees that this should have had more action and perhaps a Pokemon battle. As it stands it was boring.
SpongeBob Freestyle Funnies (Bongo)
Buy: Another comic where I went to my son (a fan of SpongeBob) for a second opinion. He thought it was a solid humor comic that would appeal to kids. I liked the fact that we got some nice art in the vein of SpongeBob but with some variations from the animation standard. I particularly liked the one-pager by indie creator James Kochalka (American Elf).
Bongo Comics Free-For-All 2015 (Bongo)
Buy: The Simpsons are a cultural phenomenon that have been on TV for a staggering 26 seasons! This was a really fun issue with a great selection of stories, my favorite being the Don Martin style one-pager featuring Sideshow Bob gracing the inside of the back cover.
Kodansha Comics Sampler (Kodansha)
Buy: A nice sampler of manga: Attack on Titan, Noragami Stray God, Vinland Saga, Inuyashiki, and Your Lie in April. A bunch of genres from sci fi to historical action/adventure, to drama to romance. Something for everyone if they’re willing to give manga a try. The main hurdle will likely be reading from right to left for most people. For my own part, I’m going to want to check out both Vinland Saga and Inuyashiki based on the previews provided here!
Street Fighter Super Combo Special (Udon/Capcom)
Buy: Lots of action and some pretty nice art too. I was a bit lost (having never played the game) but it seems that fans of the franchise would find something fun here.
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