Well kids, as Saturday May 3rd is the twelfth annual Free Comic Book Day, we thought that we’d give you a first look at some of the comics that will be available to you on that day. Before we begin, though, we want to tell you just a little bit about Free Comic Book Day (FCBD). This is a day when numerous comicbook publishers both big and small have produced special editions of certain comics that are available free to customers of participating comicbook shops around the country, FCBD occurs on the first Saturday of every May (this year May 3rd). Again this doesn’t mean that everything in the shop is free. It means that certain books that have been produced specifically for this event are free, and will be given away to patrons who stop in the participating stores.
This year, there are nearly 50 comicbook publishers (including Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, IDW, Archie, and others) that are giving away nearly 60 comics — the most ever produced in a single year for the event. Each publisher is attempting to induce new readers who might not have ever read their comics, to pick up and sample their product. Back when comics were available for under a buck, such a marketing stunt was not really necessary, but now with regular monthly comics ranging from three to five or six dollars and comics all but disappearing from “standard” news racks, casual buyers of comics are nearly extinct. Hence the industry needs a “manufactured” come-on to get people to check out their books (yes, sadly, this even in an age where there eight to ten high profile comicbooks movies a year hitting movie theaters).
One publisher, new to the event, that is looking to make a splash with their comics is Red Giant Entertainment which plans on taking full advantage of FCBD by actually launching eight (count ‘em eight!) new titles at once. The company is in fact producing four flip books featuring the eight titles and then packaging them together so you pick are really getting all eight zero issues at once. The four comics/eight issues in the package are Wayward Sons/Tesla, Duel Identity/Pandora’s Blog, Magika/The First Daughter, and Darchon/Shadow Children.
The story in Wayward Sons (Benny Powell & Nigel Raynor) introduces us to Greenwich CT residents Jason and his father, Yowa and Native Americans Alanis and her father Blackfox. The four unlikely individuals are each mor than they appear and when they meet up they are attacked by a powerful monitor who nearly kills them all. In Tesla is set during the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair has the brilliant inventor, accompanied by his lovely, capable and able-bodied, redheaded assistant, Mathilde utilizing his greatest inventions in order to battle a shadowy organization that is bent on world domination.
Duel Identity (Elaine Lee & Francis Nuguit) combines a superhero motif with a hi-tech espionage edge. Andromeda works for a mysterious organization known as “The Group” and utilizes nanotech devices to enhance her natural abilities and act as security for them protecting their clients. Pandora’s Blog (David Campiti, David Lawrence & Jinky Coronado, Larry Tuazon), is about a young gal named Pandora Sargent who, blogs about her adventures. She and her mom work for a Dr. Bethany Pike who is using her scientific abilities to assist people with rare forms of mutations. In the first story Pandora runs across a gentleman who (apparently) happens to be a gargoyle.
Journey to Magika (Kevin Juarie, David Lawrence & Wilson Tortosa, Sebastian Cheng) is about a young boy named Niko who lives in a lush fantasy world with his friends Anna (a young girl with bat wings), Narsi (a biped horse-like creature) and several trolls. This tale is backed up by The First Daughter (Chris Crosby & Tina Francisco) which stars Tasha Tasker who just happens to be the daughter of the President of the United States. In the Zero story, Tasha — who has supra-normal powers and is tutored in her abilities by Nom (who isn’t of this Earth), learns of her destiny (and of the “other” First Daughters) when she is pulled into a secret, supernatural enclave beneath the White House. Now she must juggle her superpowers while trying to ditch her secret service handlers.
Darchon (Mort Castle & Ricardo Jaime) is a horror series that chronicles the history of legendary paranormal investigator Darchon Blaque as he goes face-to-face with all sorts of supernatural creatures. Shadow Children (Kevin Juarie &Vincenzo Cucca) follows Jessica and Brian, who are a pair of children who were abused and neglected who now live in another, mystical realm, where they have acquired supernatural powers and apparently being groomed to become members in an army of darkness.
According to Benny Powell, CEO of Red Giant Entertainment, “The Free Comic Book Day event has become perhaps the single most important day in the industry. We see this as a wonderful and unique way to launch our free Giant-Size line through a venue that the industry is accustomed to, and help retain the audience-building initiative with our continued support of the industry when our Giant-Size line launches a few months later.” As a part of the celebrations, many shops around the country will also be holding in-store signings with comicbook professionals, including those from Red Giant. So, if you are into comics, used to be into comics, or want to be into comics, then you seriously owe it to yourself to be heading out to your nearest comicbook shop on Saturday May 3rd to check out what comicbooks look like in 2014. To locate a participating comicbook shop near you, follow this link.
Robert J. Sodaro has been reviewing comicbooks for some 30 years. During that time, his reviews and articles have appeared in numerous print publications, as well as on the web. Subscribe to receive regular comicbook articles and reviews.