Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
Free Comic Book Day is once again upon us, the day that current and hopefully potential comic fans flock to their local comic shop to sample a buffet of comic choices from publishers large and small. There’s a lot to sink your teeth into this time around, from previews of new or upcoming stuff — like Marble Season and Superman: The Last Son of Krypton #1 to first issues of brand new comics — like The Strangers #1 and Aphrodite IX #1. There are original comics, licensed comics, kids comics, anthologies … basically something for everyone.
Some retailers will offer all-you-can-eat options, while others might have limits on what you can get … so if you have to make a choice, here are six comics we’re particularly looking to sink our teeth into.
by John Wagner, Henry Flint, Andy Diggle, Pat Mills, John Smith, Alan Davis, Dan Abnett, Matt Smith, Ben Willsher, Al Ewing, Kev Walker, John Smith, Edmund Bagwell, Jamie Delano and more (Rebellion)
Even if this year’s 2000AD FCBD edition had been all reprint, it still would have been worth picking up just for its jaw-dropping cover art. Henry Flint mightn’t be one of the venerable old anthology’s more bankable stars in the U.S., but he’s rightfully regarded as a mad genius by his peers. This beauty hits three of his recurring themes in one cover, being a little bit horrific, a little bit psychedelic, and showcasing his ability to effortlessly mimic the styles of other artists for his own nefarious intent. However, this showcase for Flint continues inside with a new ‘Zombo’ strip written by another of the prog’s talents deserving of wider recognition, Al Ewing. Again, it’s simultaneously psychedelic, horrific and may be the most joyously sarcastic thing you’ll read all year, making this freebie entirely essential. There’s also a new ‘Dredd’ strip, written by editor Matt Smith and drawn by Ben Willsher, having a little fun at the expense of those increasingly spotted cosplayers dressing up as Mega City Judges.
The choice of reprint material also impresses: a taster of the John Smith/Edmund Bagwell ‘Indigo Prime: Anthropocalypse’ collection (again giving me the chance to say, holy cow, check out Bagwell’s art!); a short story by Andy Diggle and Kev Walker that reminds me that, as good as the work Walker produces for Marvel has been these last few years, he always saves his best work for 2000AD; and a lesser-spotted Jamie Delano/Alan Davis ‘D.R. and Quinch’ one-pager. There’s a lot more in it, too: classic thrills and new work that fully deserves the new audience Free Comic Book Day can deliver. This is a brilliantly curated introduction to a comic that is currently well into its third golden age, and on a day of fantastic bargains, this one may well be the best value of them all. –Mark Kardwell