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.
Legal | A federal judge this week made final his Oct. 17 decision that the heirs of Superman co-creator Joe Shuster surrendered the ability to reclaim their 50-percent interest in the property in a 1992 agreement with DC Comics, triggering an almost-immediate appeal to the 9th Circuit by Shuster estate lawyer Marc Toberoff. Jeff Trexler delves into the legal strategy behind the attorney’s motion for final judgment. [The Hollywood Reporter]
Legal | Todd McFarlane has settled his lawsuit against former employee Al Simmons, who earlier this year released a book in which he claimed to be the inspiration for Spawn. McFarlane had accused Simmons of violating the terms of his employment pact and breaching his duty of loyalty. Settlement terms weren’t disclosed. [The Hollywood Reporter]
Reed Beebe is a huge fan of the British sci-fi comic 2000AD. How big a fan? Here, let him explain it:
To celebrate 35 years of 2000 A.D., I furtively encoded Tharg the Mighty’s name in fan letters published in 35 comics, over a ten month period. In my fan letters, I used an acrostic (the first letter of each sentence in the body of my fan letter together spell out “THARG”). For example – “The Shadow is back? Hallelujah! And Garth Ennis is the writer? Right on! Get this book in my hands ASAP!” These “Tharg Code” fan letters can be found in the letter columns of 35 comics from six publishers.
Tharg the Mighty is, of course, the real editor of 2000AD, a space alien who has human minions such as editor Matt Smith carry out his wishes.
Beebe told me in an e-mail that he has been writing letters to the editor of his favorite comics for about two years now, and he has been playing around with adding little puzzles and poems to them, but the 35th anniversary of 2000AD inspired him to do a longer, more ambitious project.
His letters can be found in comics as diverse as B.P.R.D., Vampirella, Fantastic Four, Savage Dragon and, closer to home, Judge Dredd Megazine; there’s a complete list of issues with coded messages at the link above.
With a little more than two weeks before director Pete Travis’ Dredd 3D arrives in theaters, Lionsgate and 2000AD have released a 10-page prequel comic that delves into the backstory of Ma-Ma (played in the film by Lena Headey), the drug lord responsible for the Slo-Mo epidemic plaguing Mega-City One.
Titled “Top of the World, Ma-Ma,” the comic is written by 2000AD editor Matt Smith, with art by Henry Flint, colors by Chris Blythe, letters by Simon Bowland and a cover by Greg Staples.
Dredd 3D opens Sept. 21.
David Lloyd and U.K. comics mainstay Bambos Georgiou are launching a digital anthology comic called Aces Weekly, and have released a large and impressive list of future contributors to the U.K. comics blog Down The Tubes. The press release continues:
Earlier this week on Food or Comics I talked about the then-upcoming Henry Flint artbook, Broadcast: The TV Doodles of Henry Flint, was coming out this week. Although my shop didn’t carry it and I’ve since ordered it from Amazon, the book’s publisher Markosia was kind enough to send us a few pages from the book to more fully understand it.
In case you’re unaware of Henry Flint’s work, let me run it down for you. Flint is a British artist who’s most frequently seen in the pages of the British comic anthology weekly 2000AD. For American audiences, you might remember him on two recent DC Series — 20006′s Omega Men or 2009′s The Haunted Tank relaunch. More recently he’s popped up doing the final issue of the Gears Of War comic series as well as an issue of Fear Itself: Fearsome Four.
For those expecting to see the measured lines that Henry Flint’s known for in his comics in this artbook, this isn’t it. Broadcast is a collection of art from him blowing off steam. As the book describes it, it’s “Henry Flint unplugged, off the leash, out of control.” It’s interesting to see what an artist will draw when he’s not doing it for work; it gives you a picture inside their mind and what comes out of their drawing hand. Here’s some samples from his art book:
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a “Splurge” item.
Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.
If I had $15, I’d reverently pick up the big release of the week: the final issue of DMZ, #72 (DC/Vertigo, $2.99). Wood and Burchielli have done something special here, and I easily see the series taking its place next to Preacher and Transmet as Vertigo (and mature comic) staples. Next up I’d get a dose of a new Vertigo series, Spaceman #3 (DC/Vertigo, $2.99); Azzarello and Risso definitely zigged when most thought they would zag, and in this shaking off of the long shadow of 100 Bullets they’ve created something decidedly unique and spellbinding. Next up I’d get another DC book, this time All Star Western #4 (DC, $3.99); I’ve really enjoyed Palmiotti and Gray taking Jonah Hex into the big city here and opening up the world and heroes of these tumbleweed times, and I’m excited for the new back-up featuring a literal firebrand of a female. Finally, my last book on a $15 budget would be Avengers: Children’s Crusade #8 (Marvel, $3.99); I could write a whole article on how the schedule’s affected this book, but despite all that what we’ve got is a great story. Despite all the delays, I’m apprehensive about the final issue because it’ll probably be the last we’ll see of Allan Heinberg in the Marvel U for a long time.
If I had $30, I’d thank the yuletime gods and pick up the vibrant new issue of Haunt, #20 (Image, $2.99). I don’t know what’s in the water at Image, but they’ve orchestrated a series of recent inspired and left-field revamps of their books: Casey/Fox on Haunt, the upcoming Keatinge/Campbell on Glory, Graham/Roy on Prophet. Next up I’d get Top Cow’s Artifacts #12 (Image/Top Cow, $3.99); I admit coming onto this series late, but thanks to a plush assignment I was able to tear through the past two years of Top Cow comics and found I really enjoyed their current event book. After I read and re-read that book, I’d get a double-shot of Marvel with Captain America & Bucky #625 (Marvel, $2.99) and FF #13 (Marvel, $2.99); love what the writers are doing here, but the recent choices by editors for their new artists have made both these books even more enticing for me. Juan Bobillo drawing Hickman’s scripts on FF especially gives it a creepy vibe I’d love to see more of. Speaking of art, my final pick for this final week of the year would be the artistic tour de force of Flash #4 (DC, $2.99); Manapul and Buccellato are really showing their stuff, providing story to enable Manapul to do some of the most dynamic and heart-wrenching work of his career. In the back of my mind I’m worried what happens when Manapul needs a break from drawing: much like finding an appropriate artist for J.H. Williams 3 to rotate with on Batwoman, a suitable second for The Flash will be hard to come by.
My splurge this week is the under-the-radar collection Broadcast TV: Doodles of Henry Flint (Markosia, $19.99). I’d buy an art book by Henry Flint on face value alone, but from the limited previews I’ve seen of the book online it’s something far, far more unique. These are off-hand doodles Flint’s done in his spare time over the past five years, but I’m not talking about quick sketches: “doodles” as in ornate mind-benders where Flint literally doodled his heart out. Once I get this in my merry hands, I’ll be going over it with a fine tooth comb, magnifying glass and anything else I can find.