After skipping last year’s “Free Comic Book Summer”, I continue my tradition of reviewing this year’s Free Comic Book Day titles! Today, I showcase the Gold Sponsor comics… these are the twelve titles which all stores get. Many publishers will offer both Gold and Silver comics, using the Gold title to promote an event or launch a new series or graphic novel.


Aftershock COMICS
(W) Inaki Miranda, Roy Miranda (A/CA) Inaki Miranda
Before Tala and Hototo began their long journey, there was the beginning of the end of Earth as we know it. In the days after the bracelets fell to earth, a group of young friends embarked on a journey to find one of their own. In the Broken Lands, on the adventure of their lifetimes, these friends face the seedy world of Bracelet Diggers-the dark underground of criminals dealing life-saving bracelets, to those who can afford it most.
WE LIVE: THE LAST DAYS offers another look at the intriguing world of WE LIVE-a look no less whimsical…or heartbreaking.
Exclusive Original Material
Rating: Teen

Four kids are in search of a rare bracelet which will offer the bearer salvation from the imminent destruction of planet Earth. Good world building, so I’ll keep this in my memory if I come across the trade collections later.


Archie Comics
(W) Bill Golliher, Angelo DeCesare, Fred Van Lente (A) Pat & Tim Kennedy (A/CA) Dan Parent
It’s the crisis of infinite Archies! Celebrate 80 years of the Riverdale Gang with this tale featuring a dimension-hopping Archie Andrews in his quest to save the multiverse. Then, witness Archie go toe-to-toe with… himself?! May the best Archie win! Plus, get a preview of the newest Archie One-Shot in shops! This title includes several versions of Archie (from classic to TV to horror) and showcases his evolution as a character over eight decades, all while being a tie-in to the company’s 80th Anniversary plans.
Exclusive Original Material
Rating: All-Ages

The blurb above explains it all. Surprisingly, this is one of the few superhero comics this year.


BOOM! Studios
(W) James Tynion IV (A/CA) Werther Dell’Edera

In 2019, James Tynion IV (Batman) and Werther Dell’Edera (Briggs Land) introduced the world to Erica Slaughter, the iconic monster hunter who came to Archer’s Peak, Wisconsin to save the town’s children from the monsters only she can see.
But Erica is not the only member of the House of Slaughter…
With nearly half a million copies sold Something is Killing the Children has become a true comic phenomenon and this Free Comic Book Day you are invited to enter the House of Slaughter… if you dare.
Reprint material
Rating: Teen

Again, I’m a neophyte reader, but it tells a good story, giving some background to the series. Not my cuppa, but Tynion knows what he’s doing.


Dark Horse Comics
(W) Jody Houser, Bartosz Sztybor (A/CA) Tyler Walpole

In the twentieth year of free comics, we bring you stories expanding on two epic worlds. In Critical Role, explore a small but important corner from the adventures of the Mighty Nein. Then, in The Witcher, it’s an original tale featuring the iconic witcher, Geralt! Created in close collaboration with CD Projekt Red!
Exclusive Original Material
Rating: Teen [“Mature”]

An introductory story about the Nein, followed by a self-contained story about the Witchers. If you’re a fan, or enjoy fantasy, give it a look.


First Second Books
(W) John Patrick Green (A/CA) John Patrick Green

Get a sneak peek at book 4 in the bestselling InvestiGators series! With agent Brash trapped in a mysterious coma, the technicians at S.U.I.T. have designed the ultimate replacement: RoboBrash! This high-tech replica has been programmed with all of the original Brash’s crime-fighting skills and knowhow-but it seems he’s got a few bugs in his system! Will Mango and his new partner be enough to stop the giant ants that are on a rampage in the city? Orchestrated by the spaced-out villain, Maestronaut, and Houdino, the dinosaur escape artist, it seems criminals are certainly upping the ANT-e!
Preview Material
Rating: All-Ages

WOW. This is the fourth book in the series, about secret agent alligators (and other animals) fighting supervillains. In this story, S.U.I.T. must counteract the possibility of the villains teaming up. Not as silly as Dog Man, but it looks like loads of fun! (And your local library should have copies of the books that you can check out for free!)


IDW Publishing
(W) Daniel Jose Older (A) Harvey Tolibao (A/CA) Nick Brokenshire

Join Yoda, Buckets o’ Blood, and their Padawan learners as they go on an adventure to help maintain peace during the glory days of the Republic, in a prelude to IDW’s Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures series! Written by series architect Daniel José Older, this is the ideal entry into the world of the High Republic-and a can’t-miss story for fans!”
This will angle more toward the Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures VOL 1 TPB, though Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures #6 remains the start of the next story arc and should be supported within the back matter. Star Wars the High Republic is an incredibly successful initiative of an interconnected mega story told across books, comics and magazines. We had record numbers for our 1st issue!
Exclusive Original Material
Rating: All-Ages

Star Wars, featuring Jedi-in-training (and Jedi-yet-to-be-discovered), in a corner of that Galaxy far, far away that’s not filled with a lot of cannon, so it’s accessible to new readers and old fans!


Image Comics
(W) Joe Benitez (A/CA) Joe Benitez

A young woman in the Victorian Era searches desperately for the secrets to her past, which resulted in her extraordinary but unnatural mechanical limbs.  Lady Mechanika FCBD 2021 will include the 14-page stand-alone story “The Demon of Satan’s Alley,” which first introduced Lady Mechanika and her steampunk world (Lady Mechanika #0), plus 8 or more pages of excerpts from upcoming and/or existing Lady Mechanika books including “Monster at the Ministry of Health,” the newest story by series creator Joe Benitez which will debut this year at Image Comics.
Preview & Reprint Material
Rating: Teen

Well, this is interesting! Benitez is a veteran self-publisher, with each FCBD issue reprinting a story from Lady Mechanika #0, and a back-up of the latest series. This year, he’s now with Image, and their Gold title to boot! Yes, it’s got the introductory story, plus teasers from other series. Great art, solid steampunk world-building, so that I’m never bored re-re-reading the same story every year.


Marvel Comics
(W) Donny Cates, Jason Aaron (A) Ryan Ottley, Iban Coello

In a land beyond time, a shining tower stands, deploying its operatives across the Multiverse to hold against the encroaching darkness! Who is the mysterious Avenger Prime, and how will his advent impact on the past, the present, and the very future of the mighty Avengers?
Exclusive Original Material
Rating: Teen

Okay… the first story has a great hook! There’s an Avengers Tower at the center of the multiverse, maintained by one Avenger, which monitors danger. In this story, something big and bad happens and Deathloks are sent to various realities to investigate. I guess this is Avengers-verse? Me, I’ll take a look at the trade paperback when it crosses my line of sight.

The second story is lots of fun! MODOK is trying to take over the Moon, and the Hulk arrives, not to thwart their plans, but to get some tech so he can finally fulfill some lifelong ambitions. But before that can happen, he must deal with MODOK and his latest creation: GODOS! An introduction to the new Hulk series starting this November.


Penguin Workshop
(W) Insha Fitzpatrick (A/CA) Abelle Hayford

From refusing to give up her bus seat to a white passenger to sparking civil rights protests across America, explore how Rosa Parks’ powerful act earned her the title “Mother of the Civil Rights Movement.” A story of resistance, strength, and unwavering spirit, this graphic novel invites readers to immerse themselves in the life of the American Civil Rights leader.
Preview Material
Rating: Teen [“All Ages”]

Penguin Random House launches a new series of biographies. Not a lot of fancy art, lots of speaking, and the reconstructed dialogue seems a bit earnest. That said, it makes Rosa Parks’ story very accessible. Four titles launch this fall, so check your local library!


Titan Comics
(W) Mike Johnson, Mellow Brown, K. Perkins (A/CA) Andres Guinaldo

This special edition connects the Blade Runner Origins and Blade Runner 2029 storylines for the first time! Titan’s Gold-level FCBD title reveals the link between Detective Cal’s actions in Blade Runner Origins and Detective Ash’s story in Blade Runner 2029 #1. Two acclaimed creative teams of Mike Johnson, K. Perkins, Mellow Brown, Andrés Guinaldo, and Fernando Dagnino come together for a spectacular FCBD issue!
Exclusive Original Material
Rating: Teen [“Suggested for Mature Readers”]

Two stories, didn’t really flip any switches or push any buttons.


(W) Feng Zi Su, Xuxian Zhe

A sneak peek of two comics from Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed video game series.
Valhalla: Blood Brothers: Not long before the exploits of Eivor Wolf-Kissed, Jarl Stensson and his younger brothers, Ulf and Björn, make their way to England at the behest of Halfdan Ragnarsson and Ivarr the Boneless. Filled with excitement, confidence and bloodlust, the three brothers are eager to go to war against Aelfred the Great and his Anglo Saxon army. But they would do well not to underestimate what awaits them on those green shores…
Dynasty: In the 14th year of the Tianbao Era (CE 755) An Lushan, a military governor with ties to the Knights Templar, leads his elite corps to rebel against the Tang Dynasty, and the ill-prepared Tang empire falters under the threat. The two capitals Luoyang and Chang’an fall and China falls under the oppression of the cruel An Lushan. As the Tang dynasty starts to crumble, Li E, a shady Assassin trained by the Hidden Ones in the far West, teams up with Tang loyalists to turn the tide and save both the dynasty and the country from this crisis.
Rating: Teen

Tokyopop makes a rookie mistake: the cover is left-to-right, but the stories read right-to-left. Complete stories, but they don’t make me want to read more.


(W) Haro Aso, Koyoharu Gotouge (A) Kotaro Takata, Koyoharu Gotouge

Zom 100: After spending years toiling away for a soul-crushing company, Akira’s life has lost its luster. But when a zombie apocalypse ravages his town, it gives him the push he needs to live for himself. Now Akira’s on a mission to complete all 100 items on his bucket list before he…well, kicks the bucket.
Demon Slayer: In Taisho-era Japan, kindhearted Tanjiro Kamado makes a living selling charcoal. But his peaceful life is shattered when a demon slaughters his entire family. His little sister Nezuko is the only survivor, but she has been transformed into a demon herself! Tanjiro sets out on a dangerous journey to find a way to return his sister to normal and destroy the demon who ruined his life.
Preview Material
Rating: Teen

A decent read of both stories. Interesting premises, but not interesting enough for me to read more.

Free Comic Book Day 2021 is this Saturday, August 14th.