Robot 6

Best of 7 | Megatron, Southern Bastards and free comics!

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Welcome to Best of 7, where we talk about “The best in comics from the last seven days” — which could be anything from an exciting piece of news to something great fans are doing to an awesome comic that came out. So let’s get to it …

Free comics for everyone

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Fan young and old, old and new, celebrated comics on Saturday during the industry’s annual Free Comic Book Day. Retailers welcomed lines and lines of people to their stores, hosting creator appearances, special sales, face painting, barbecues and even a “fun run.”

And, of course, free comics, which put the spotlight on everything from fun kids comics to music-themed comics to licensed comics to new projects classic comics to big event comics. DC, Marvel, BOOM!, Dark Horse, Top Cow, IDW, Bongo, Oni, Fantagraphics and many more publishers shared both new and recycled content for fans of all ages.

My family hit two comic shops yesterday, bringing home plenty of comics for both father and son. To see FCBD activities from all over the world, be sure to check out CBR Live! and FCBD’s official Flickr. (JK Parkin)

Out with the old …

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CBR founder and head honcho Jonah Weiland announced this week that he would be shuttering the old CBR message boards and starting fresh, with the stated goal of fostering an inclusive, welcoming environment. For the past few weeks the comics fandom community has focused on, as Jonah put it, “an increasingly loud contingent … who refuse to behave in a manner respectful to others.” Thus, the new CBR Community boards will have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to such abuses.

I won’t dwell on the ugly comments that precipitated this change. Instead, let’s look at this as a real chance to focus on the things which bring us together. We all love comics. Each of us comes to comics from different backgrounds and for different reasons, and none of us reads exactly the same things — but we all love comics. That diversity is arguably even more important in an online setting, where our communal experience often occurs when we are physically alone. It’s easy, in such a setting, to throw up walls and divide those faceless screen-names into “like me” and “unlike me.” However, it’s more rewarding, both socially and intellectually, to learn from those different experiences, and especially to gain different perspectives on our own beliefs. Comics themselves are capable of conveying an astonishing range of narratives, from the abstract to the realistic, from the autobiographical to the utterly fantastic, and everything in between. That can only continue as long as we encourage the growth and cultivation of readers and fans. That’s the standard to which any online community — including the Robot 6 comments — should aspire. CBR’s changes encourage all of us to rededicate ourselves to those principles. (Tom Bondurant)

Vikings sail on in Vinland Saga Vol. 3

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Any week that brings a new volume of Attack on Titan is a good week, but I was also thrilled to see the third volume of Vinland Saga arrive in stores. This is a book that should have plenty of crossover appeal, and Kodansha is treating it right, publishing it in nice two-in-one hardcover volumes with lots of little extras, like writing in runes on the endpapers.

The manga is by Makoto Yukimura, whose earlier sci-fi story, Planetes, was much hailed by critics when it was published here by Tokyopop in the early 2000s. Vinland Saga is a different story, set in England in the Viking era and mixing bloody battles with a pretty cool family saga.

Yukimura’s art is straightforward and not super stylized, so the books are accessible for readers who like a good story but don’t read a lot of manga. The first chapter is included in Kodansha’s digital sampler REAL, which is available for free from Amazon or Barnes and Noble. (Brigid Alverson)

Megatron goes Autobot in More Than Meets The Eye #28

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This week saw the release of a comic that I (and many IDW Transformers fans) have been anticipating the most: More Than Meets The Eye #28, where … Megatron is an Autobot now?

The cast of MTMTE already had one former villain on its cast (Cyclonus), and he became an easy fan favorite. How is writer James Roberts going to redeem THE bad guy of the Transformers universe? It’s a plot development more intriguing than the search of a mythic land or a fight against giant zombie robots. (Larry Cruz)

Southern Bastards serves up some southern-fried violence

For months my anticipation for the first issue of Southern Bastards by the two Jasons (Aaron and Latour) has been palpable. I feared my expectations would not be matched when I finally read it. I am glad to say they have been exceeded.

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Aaron has an unabashed love for Southern life, given that he originally hails from Alabama. Latour has a lust for violence in his art and this project satiates that particular proclivity.The use of flashbacks in giving glimpses of the lead character Earl’s childhood is exquisitely executed.

In particular, Latour (who colors himself with an assist from Rico Renzi) really dark tones interspersed with flashback red panels to really create some dynamic contrasts.

There’s even a dash of mythology as an iconic stick from Earl’s childhood seemingly grows into a tree.

If nothing else this comic is a must read for opening with a dog having a bowel movement. No, really. Name another comic that has ever done that to set the tone for a series. And dammit, it works.

Two storytellers having fun on a creator-owned project, it does not get much better than this. (Tim O’Shea)

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