Friday, November 18, 2016


Every year, my friends at Stormwatch Comics send me a box of Free Comic Book Day issues. Every year, I vow to read and review every one of them. Will 2016 be the year I finally keep that vow? Well, here, at least, is a start...

When I review Free Comic Book Day giveaways, I look at a number of things. Is the material in the comic well-written and well-drawn? Does it present a good enough chunk of the comic or graphic novel to entice a reader into buying the comic or the GN showcased? Is it sufficiently reader-friendly to welcome rather than confuse a new reader?

Marvel’s Greatest Collections #1 isn’t labeled for FCBD, but, since it was in the Stormwatch box, I’m including it. It’s an extremely well-designed 64-page catalog of Marvel’s many comics collections. There are pages/sections devoted to various characters, events and teams from Civil War to Guardians of the Galaxy to Howard the Duck.
While it’s just the thing for a new Marvel reader introduced to the Marvel Universe through the movies, it may be a bit intimidating to that fledgling reader. There are just so many hardcovers and trade paperbacks...and this catalog make them look and sound appealing. Even for a veteran Marvel reader like yours truly, this catalog is useful. I’ll be requesting many of the listed volumes from my local library. I may even buy a few.

FCBD RATING: Excellent. While there are no stories included in this giveaway, each section tells you enough about the character, event or team to give you a decent idea what they are about. If I were a store owner, I suggest customers use it as a personal checklist and all as a handy way to tell loved ones which of these books they’d like to receive as gifts.

2000 AD Free Comic Book Day Prog 2016 was a welcome sight to this long-time fan of the British weekly. I haven’t read the magazine in several years because keeping up with just got too expensive for my limited comics-buying budget. I’m hoping to increase that budget in the near future.

Rebellion, publisher of 2000 AD and lots of other cool things, has packed this 52-page comic book with wonderful material. It starts with a Judge Dredd story about once-married actors who are starring in rival super-hero movies. Other features include: Fiends of the Eastern Front (vampires in Vietnam); The Order (a mix of science-fiction and fantasy set in thirteenth-century Germany); the quite unexpected return of Bad Company (Earth soldiers fighting an alien enemy); Strontium Dog (a classic strip about bounty-hunting mutants in the future); Tharg’s Terror Tales (one-off horror stories with a sci-fi vibe); Ratfink (a degenerate killer in the Cursed Earth of Dredd’s era); and, for good measure, a couple of the Judge Dredd strips that ran in newspapers. I love this stuff, but it might not be for all readers.

FCBD RATING: Excellent. The inside front cover gives readers a bit of background on each feature. The stories themselves are a decent representation of the weekly magazine. New readers will be able to decide if 2000 AD is right for them.


I have failed this blog. While I managed to read almost all of the FCBD comics, these are the only reviews I actually wrote. My best intentions aside, I failed to complete the task I’ve been setting for myself for years.   

Lucy pulled the football away. I should have seen it coming because she always pulls the football away. But, optimistic fool that I am,  I thought this time I would get to make that kick.

I started writing this blog entry in June, figuring I would write enough reviews to make a proper column and then post it. The plan was to repeat that as often as it took to review all of the comic books. Worse, I’m running this incomplete column today to buy me a bit of time on my crazy schedule.

I have truly failed this blog.

I don’t know if I’ll ever get my sorry act together enough to read and review an entire Free Comic Book Day’s worth of free comics and stuff. I don’t know if I have the will to try again. But...

What’s that, Lucy? This time you won’t pull the football away from me when I try to kick it. All right, then!

I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2016 Tony Isabella

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