Each year, the first Saturday in May is like Christmas, only with more Cosplay.
Most comic book stores celebrate Free Comic Book Day, where as the name suggests, you get free comic books, save on merchandise with special sales, dress up and talk with actual comic book creators.
You can check out FreeComicBookDay.com for participating stores near you.
The free comics and sales provide an opportunity to try new titles you might not have tried otherwise.
Here are ten titles full of diversity along with some of the best writing and artwork currently available. If they have FCBD 2015 in front, that means they’re free while supplies last.
FCBD 2015 Avengers #1 -Marvel
This is the line-up that includes Kamala Khan, Miles Morales, Sam Alexander, Sam Wilson as Captain America and…the mystery woman known as Thor! It’s also a little surprising that they didn’t try to have a special Ant-Man issue to build interest for the new film. Last year, Marvel gave out specials for Guardians of the Galaxy and Rocket Raccoon.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad -Marvel
Dennis Hopeless, Tigh Walker
Yes, Disney likes to milk all their products with each other. Cross promotion! However, the Marvel series based off Disney World attractions are really good. This current installment revolves around a plucky young woman named Abigail who isn’t afraid to do things like dress up as a bandit and go after a runaway train.
FCBD 2015 Boom Studios 10th Anniversary FCBD Special -Boom Studios
Has it really only been ten years since Boom! Studios was founded? if you’re not familiar with the company, this is a perfect sampler with some of their best work. It’ll include a new story for Jim Henson’s Labyrinth, an excerpt of Mouse Guard, a Lumberjanes story and seven others. Lumberjanes debuted last year but has quickly become critically acclaimed and is nominated for two Eisner awards as well as a GLAAD Media Award.
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina -Archie Comics
Robert Aguirre-Sacasa, Robert Hack
In this darker version, Sabrina’s aunts demand custody after using their magic to help the girl’s parents conceive her in the first place. Even Sabrina appears to be more of a Brothers Grimm character as she freely uses magic to manipulate those around her. In some ways, it feels more believable than the traditional wholesome Sabrina. The story is perfectly matched by artwork more akin to the old Tales of Suspense from horror’s heyday.
Gotham Academy -DC
Becky Cloonan, Karl Kerschl
A diverse group of teenagers deal with growing up except that this prep school is located in Gotham so they’re also dealing with secrets, mysteries and a new boy named Damian Wayne. It also contains a lot of humor usually lacking with other DC titles and they get brownie points for utilizing obscure villains in new ways. It’s a bit like if Rick Riordan did a DC series the way he did Roman and Greek mythology.
FCBD 2015 Hop Hop Family Tree 3-IN-1 Featuring Cosplayers (MR) -Fantagraphics Books
Ed Piskor, Dash Shaw and various
Piskor does a fabulous job detailing the history of hip hop in his comics and this free issue is great if you aren’t familiar with his work. For those who already have the volumes the excerpts are from, there is brand new artwork from R Crumb, Skottie Young, Jim Rugg, Ben Marra, and more. Young should ring a bell for Marvel fans. Shaw does a story about two cosplayers.
Kelly Thompson, Sophie Campbell), M. Victoria Robado
She’s back! Properties from the 1980s have the opportunity to modernize in a way that preserves the original goodness while making it available for a new audience or being so awful that the original is ruined along with it. This one is a success. Characters have been made “cuter” than the more elongated, realistic forms of the original animated series but the stories have not been dumbed down one bit.
Rat Queens -Image
Kurtis J. Wiebe, Stjepan Sejic
Four awesome women of various races and backgrounds make up this book. All of them seem just as comfortable with a knife as with a quip to make you laugh out loud. It’s set in the middle ages but with a modern sensibility that allows for hipsters and atheists among dwarfs and elves. Rat Queens was also winner of a GLAAD Media Award.
FCBD 2015 Stan Lee Chakra the Invincible -Graphic India
Stan Lee, Jeevan Kang and various
Lee teamed up with Indian comic creators to create his first character just for India. They also produced a film for Cartoon Network India but this is the first time that the United States has been able to see Raju Rai.
FCBD 2015 Supermutant Magic Academy & Step Aside, Pops! Combo -Drawn & Quarterly
Jillian Tamaki, Kate Beaton
Both Tamaki and Beaton write and illustrate their own comics. Tamaki based Supermutant Magic Academy off her experience of creating a Dazzler comic for Marvel but finding herself drawn to the more mundane bits of every day life than Marvel would allow. Beaton has also worked on Strange Tales for Marvel but her passion lies in comics about literature, history and her daily life. Both have also been praised and given various awards for their work which are delightful and thought provoking in different ways.
May the Fourth Be with You!
So, how are you celebrating? The usual marathon of all three or six films? How about something a little different this year?
Disney XD will be showing special programming in most, if not all, of its countries. The content will vary between Star Wars Rebels, Star Wars: The New Yoda Chronicles, Phineas & Ferb: Star Wars and more.
Did you get a special shirt or outfit for the occasion? A wardrobe could always use more Star Wars and this is where Ashley Eckstein comes in. Shortly after being cast as Ahsoka Tano for the animated series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Eckstein noticed a lack of Star Wars licensed clothing and accessories for women. Men’s shirts could fit but weren’t flattering. Instead of just complaining about the injustice, Eckstein partnered with The Araca Group in 2009 to start Her Universe; a clothing company specializing in science fiction and fantasy licensed merchandise for girls and women to wear. Now, it can be found online, on Disney property or various retailers like Hot Topic.
How about picking up a new Star Wars book to read?
The Lords of the Sith by Paul S. Kemp was just released on April 28. It’s one of the first books published since Disney threw out the entire Expanded Universe canon that had been built up over twenty years. In this novel, Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader have ended up stranded on a distant planet which sounds like the worst Gilligan’s Island remake ever. However, we know they’re alive and back to evil-doing by the time of Star Wars: A New Hope so something must happen. It also conforms to the new Disney canon by including details like Vader thinking about Ahsoka Tano, his former apprentice and a major player being Cham Syndulla who was a minor character in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Plus, it has the first confirmed lesbian in Star Wars canon, Moff Mors. It’s a small part but will hopefully be the start of other characters with various sexual orientations in the future.
Don’t forget how much Star Wars has influenced everything from sitcoms to comic strips. Enjoy this mention in Candorville:
What did you think of Avengers: Age of Ultron?
Next week will be the fate of Agent Carter and how the sexual politics of celebrity interviews affect fictional characters.