You’d think Free Comic Book Day would be good for your wallet, because—you know—it’s all free.
It’s rough on your wallet long-term, though, because you end up finding new series to love and spend money on. Granted, it’s not all bad, since that money goes to your local comic store, a small business that fosters the local geek community. Raising awareness for these stores is the whole reason we have Free Comic Book Day in the first place.
But still. My poor wallet.
I got a good haul last weekend once I figured out how to actually get the comics. My local comic shop had this system where you write the numbers of the five free comics you want on this little card, except I didn’t see the place where they had the numbered comics displayed, so I walked around in confusion for a while.
But I got my free comics and read through them last week. Some seemed more like ads than stories to me, and not all of them caught my interest, but a few definitely hooked me. Here are my top three.
Street Angel’s Dog
The art! The colors! The action! I’d never heard of this series before, so it took me by surprise in the best sort of way.
From the pages of the comic: “Jesse Sanchez is the deadliest girl alive, a homeless ninja on a skateboard. In Wilksboro, Angel City’s toughest neighborhood, she fight’s ninjas, drugs, nepotism, and pre-algebra as Street Angel.”
That blurb loses something without the awesome images surrounding it. Read the preview to get the full effect.
The comic begins with Street Angel rushing to the rescue of a poor dog from a gang of hooligans. What follows is possibly the best two-page spread of a punch to the face I’ve ever seen, and then a girl and dog getting into wacky shenanigans and bonding.
This comic’s got style, and I loved the crazy fashions of the random street gang members. Enough is packed into this single issue to give me a real feel for the city and Street Angel’s personality, making me want more of both. And the ending is sweet enough to give you cavities.
There seem to be a few different Street Angel graphic novels, so if anybody has recommendations, let me know where to start.
I love Dracula. It’s one of my favorite Victorian gothic novels and was a big influence when I wrote The Ghost Machine. So when Silver opens with an auction of treasures from the estate of Dracula protagonists Jonathon and Mina Harker, I was immediately intrigued.
The Cover of the Silver free comic is a little misleading, since that vampire-slaying lady doesn’t show up in this issue, nor do any actual vampires appear. Instead, this is an old-fashioned heist story. It follows master thief James Finnegan as he attempts to steal the Harkers’ collection, with all the twists and turns and police chases you’d expect.
The comic is black and white, which I thought would be a turn-off but ended up liking after the first few pages. It fits the story’s pulp/noir feel perfectly. Finnegan will appeal to anyone who likes the trope of charming gentlemen thieves, and while the ending gives enough closure to make the story feel complete, it offers tons of interesting questions about what will come next.
As a fan of vampires, pulp, and heist stories, I definitely want to check this series out.
This comic is the only one on the list that I’d heard of before reading. I love steampunk, and I’d seen covers from different issues of this series floating around the internet (The art is gorgeous, isn’t it?), so I was excited to pick up an issue and find out what it was all about.
Partially mechanical and suffering from amnesia, Lady Mechanika tracks down leads to solve the mystery of who and what she is. That summary describes both stories in the free comic: the preview of the actual first issue, where she’s chasing a strange creature; and the original free short story, where she breaks into a facility to find a mechanical arm exactly like her own.
I would have preferred it if the comic fleshed out the original story instead of making it share space with the preview, since I didn’t feel like I got enough characterization for Lady Mechanika in either one. Then again, I finished the issue wanting to know more about this woman, so maybe keeping things short was the comic’s master plan.
In any case, the art is beautiful, the dark alleys and monster-infested tunnels feeling like something out of Frankenstein or Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde—which I’m 100% here for. Read the preview and see for yourself.
None of these are superhero stories (gasp!), which just goes to show the huge range of genres you can find in comic books as a medium. Discovering new series is the point of Free Comic Book Day, which I’d call a success for me personally. Did anybody else make it to their local stores on May 5th? What were your favorite finds?
Share your thoughts in the comments!