Last Saturday marked the 10th annual Free Comic Book Day, an event that hits participating comic shops everywhere the first Saturday of every May. This fun-filled event has always been a great opportunity for publishers to reach out to new readers, and this year was no different. DC, Marvel, and Image each showcased a taste of their top creators, but who offered the strongest freebie?
From DC came Green Lantern: Special Edition, which was a reprint of 2008’s Green Lantern #30. An awesome origin story from writer Geoff Johns and penciled by Ivan Reis, who are still on the title today. This is a great segue for the upcoming motion picture based on the same hero. However this story doesn’t offer much for current comic fans. Thankfully the last 7pgs offer up a Flashpoint preview. Geoff Johns now pairs up with Andy Kubert for DC’s big summer special. Kubert’s art really shines here with plenty of full pages of our favorite speedster and a 2pg spread of DC’s greatest heroes. The excitement builds as a confused Barry Allen runs to an alternate looking Batman for help. This final page and the checklist to follow imply an epic reimagining of the DCU. The first issue of this series just hit stores Wednesday.
Marvel offered up an all new Amazing Spider-Man tale by Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos. The book immediately catches the reader up on Spidey’s current life after the events of Big Time. The new Madame Web weaves a tale in which our hero battles The Mandrill and a mind controlled Spider-Woman, while Web and kung fu hero Shang Chi plan to prepare our hero for the events to come in Spider-Island. If the teaser for what is to come in Amazing Spider-man wasn’t enough, the book also features a six page preview for Fear Itself. There are already two issues of this series out, which should continue rampaging the Marvel U for most of this year.
Image brought us Super Dinosaur #1, an all new series from Chief Creative Officer Robert Kirkman. Originally published April 20th 2011, Image is offering up a free look at this series well before issue 2 hits. Jason Howard’s artwork is perfect for the fun filled tale of Derek Dynamo and his teched out best friend Super Dinosaur. This all-ages title offers plenty of dinosaur-centric sci-fi that comic fans new and old can enjoy. After the origin story, the creators offer up eleven pages of bios, alluding to the excitement to come in the upcoming issues of Super Dinosaur.
While each of these books offered up their own rewards, it became too easy to rank them. Amazing Spider-Man felt like the perfect special for Free Comic Book Day. This book is the perfect jump on point for new and returning readers of the webhead. Super Dinosaur also blew me away, and made me regret not picking up the title when it first arrived. An accessible all ages title that is guaranteed to be fun. Meanwhile DC’s Green Lantern: Special Edition felt like filler. The book doesn’t catch the reader up on any of the events that have affected Hal Jordan and the rest of the Green Lantern Corps. By comparison the other titles prepare the reader to continue following the ongoing books. The redeeming part of DC’s special would be the exciting preview for Flashpoint. In the end Free Comic Book Day proves to be a huge success for the industry all around, securing at least my sales for many more titles to come.