NOTHING IS BETTER THAN SOMETHING FREE
Last Updated on Friday, 10 May 2013 02:13
FREE COMIC BOOK DAY HAS COME AND GONE, BUT CHECK OUT WHAT WE GOT!
It saddened me to hear the woman at Pulp Fiction tell her coworker that someone had thought the stack of Comic Strip Masterpieces was supposed to be thrown away. Remembering the yellowed comic strip anthologies that my dad had given me as a child, I lit up at the sight of full pages of vintage comics like Winsor McCay’s Little Nemo, Alex Raymond’s Flash Gordon, and Chester Gould’s Dick Tracy in full color on newsprint. Being a compilation of reprints, Comic Strip Masterpieces highlights portions of recently-published collections of comic strips that are now considered classics while allowing you to soak in that nostalgic charm of artwork from eras gone by. The compilation also serves as a reminder that racism used to be kind of okay with the warning “These books contain images that may be considered racially and ethnically offensive by today’s standards” slapped underneath some of the comics from the turn of the century. Pretty racist caricatures aside, Comic Strip Masterpieces might be the coolest thing I’m ever going get at a Free Comic Book Day.
I was excited about The Strangers from the moment I saw it until I read it. I skimmed through the issue as I walked to the car admiring how the panels seem to be equal parts colorful and campy, like someone upped the contrast of an episode of Batman. Awesome, in my opinion. But despite how much I like the art, this story as a preview to the first issue of an ongoing series is muddled and underdeveloped. The Strangers follows the Strangers of Sandoval, Michael Kono and Verity Mills, super-powered spy types that infiltrate an island country to find information regarding involvement of an evil organization named Capricorn in the recent personality shift of the president of a Caribbean island. They stumble onto a yet unknown alien plot. It’s 20+ pages of information being thrown at you at a ridiculous pace. There’s no time to give a glint of what the characters’ powers are or even who Capricorn is or even what the Strangers do.
For whatever reason, It took me a while to realize that Ramayan 3392AD was based on the epic (also epic in the sense that that shit is long, being a series of seven books) Hindu story about the life of the avatar Rama and his wife Sita. Being such an action-packed story, of course it makes sense for the text to be converted into a comic book series with a sci-fi bent meant to appeal to a younger generation. My gripe with this Free Comic Book Day sample is that there isn’t any indication to what exactly this is. With every couple of pages featuring a different character drawn and written by someone completely different with stories that don’t really have anything to do with each other, I couldn’t really come out of reading the sample with even a basic summary. Thus, the sample becomes the worst kind of teaser: eye-catching but incredibly vague. The sample ends with concept art for Grant Morrison’s proposed animated series 18 Days, which looks like something that would make lovers of epic fantasies cream their chainmail shorts. But let’s hope that the series’ YouTube channel isn’t just another frustrating series of trailers that seriously lack any kind of relevant information.
I found out too late that this comic was a double sneak peek at two wholly unrelated graphic novels. You know what ruins a graphic novel? Excerpting. The first one is about a bunch of dudes chasing a murderer and they’re being led by a Mexican in the way that a bunch of ‘Coon Hunters in West Virginia are led by a bloodhound. Anyway, they catch up to him, he starts shooting, they shoot back, then he makes eye contact with the Mexican and the Mexican says, “He is gone.”
What. The. Actual. Fuck.