52 titles.  Hundreds of fans and curious onlookers.  A plethora of four-color enjoyment.

What to grab, what to leave left behind this Free Comic Book Day 2013?  And what extra titles should you grab for those who are fans of movie and television properties, but didn’t realize there were new stories being published in comics?

Here’s the second list of my reviews, featuring the first half of the silver titles, which may or may not be found at your local comics shop.  Is it cool enough to search other stores or publisher websites, hoping for a digital reprint?  Or maybe via eBay, or less ethical means?

You decide.


2000 AD SPEC


(W) John Wagner & Various (A) Henry Flint & Various (CA) Henry Flint
Home of Judge Dredd, 2000 AD is the UK’s award-winning weekly SF anthology comic.
In  this bumper 48-page FCBD special, The Jimps Club is a brand new Judge Dredd story about a club of Judge impersonators compete against each other to see who can last the longest on the harsh streets of the ‘Big Meg’. They’ve got being a Judge down to a fine art, nailed the mannerisms and the stance, but all it takes is one mistake for Dredd to spot an imposter…; Zombo returns in the all-new Planetronix: Mohawk Of Menace! – the failed government(TM) robot defense force Planetronix (TM) are on a mission to just say NO to DRUGS! But when Yellow Lion (TM) starts getting into insidious punk rock music, Zombo has to intervene; plus thrill-pounding action from The Visible Man, dimensional instability issues for Indigo Prime and dubious thermo-nuclear advice from alien delinquents DR & Quinch.
The biggest comic, tabloid-sized, 48 pages!  Lots of different stories, styles, and creators!  What caught my eye?  Part One of “Indigo Prime: Everything and More”.  Great art, bizarre physics!  There’s a trade available now, so I might just pick this up!



Christos Gage (Avengers Academy, X-Men: Legacy, Authority: Prime) created a visceral world where law enforcement turns to super cops to subdue the new breed of street evil.  But when one cop crosses the line and begins hunting and killing criminals in secret, he becomes worse than those he brought to ultimate justice.  Absolution takes fans on an insane roller-coaster ride that ends in a public hero’s downfall and the uprising of a violent judge, jury, and executioner.  Absolution: The Beginning reprints the first two issues (#0-1) of this classic series and provides a sneak peek preview at this summer’s highly anticipated sequel, Absolution: Rubicon!  Perfect for fans of the Punisher and Authority – Absolution will show you what happens when a superhero is pushed beyond the boundaries of sanity and decides to push back.
An interesting premise: a superhero grows disillusioned with the revolving door of the justice system.  He becomes a serial killer, while continuing to work for the local police force.  The series has been collected.


actiontime buddies


(W) Robby Bevard (A/CA) Fred Perry
Kid the Adventurer and Bro the Kung-Fu Pegasus are back in an ALL-NEW story for Free Comic Book Day! The fan-favorite best buds will face fierce forests, soaring snakes, nincompoop ninjas, doofy dinosaurs, and vile villains all in the name of fun!  Don’t miss out on this growing hit!
Is this a parody?  A mishmash of various memes and tropes?  It’s a webcomic, and fun, but it’s a bit light for a comic book.
The funniest thing about the comic?  The ad on the inside back cover, for “How to Draw Adventure Friends and Other Cartoon Heroes“.  How many analogs can you identify?



(W) Matt Hawkins (A) Stjepan Sejic
Aphrodite IX returns for Free Comic Book Day!  This first free issue launches a new ongoing series of Top Cow’s fan favorite, memory challenged, green haired, questionably human heroine.  Hundreds of years after a cataclysmic event scorched the surface, Earth and its inhabitants have been forever altered and a new landscape and political struggle has taken hold with three distinct factions fighting for control.  Aphrodite IX is both anachronism and advanced technology in a world that she no longer recognizes.  No aliens, just humans and their genetically and technologically altered descendants in a mixture of the best Sci-Fi and Fantasy has to offer!
I don’t know anything about the character.  This issue sets up the story, as the two remaining factions of Earth’s humanity war.  One community has genetically engineered themselves and animals; the other has gone cyberpunk.  In the middle?  A sleeper agent and her minder, in cryo-storage.  This is Top Cow title, so it’s a corporate comic.
It didn’t catch my fancy, but has promise.  Sejic’s art is excellent, recalling classic Heavy Metal stories from the 1980s.


atomic robo fcbd

Publisher: RED 5 COMICS

(W) Brian Clevinger (A/CA) Scott Wegener
Unanimously heralded by fans, creators, retailers and critics as the perfect first comic to give to a non-comic-reader. It’s a robotic experiment gone wrong, and only Atomic Robo’s brand of violent science can save the day. We’ve got lasers, explosions, and robots. It’s like the transforming-robot movies, but comprehensible! Plus, previews of 2013 adventures of Red 5 favorites and new faces.
Atomic Robo and friends battle a giant robot.
But!  The backup story is why you want to grab this comic!  “Bodie Troll” is a cute and cuddly little troll (which is a big problem if you want be a big, nasty goat-eater)!  Jay Fosgitt does it all, and seems to have some animation chops, as the character design and storytelling is first rate, with some very bold panel layouts!  The coloring is a bit busy, making it a bit difficult to decode objects in some panels.
I’ll buy this when I see it!  All ages fun!


hulk smash fcbd


It’s out action featuring the newest stars to be of Disney XD: Avengers and the Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.! Featuring art pulled directly from the animated series, this sneak peek at the two newest animated series from the geniuses at Marvel Animation promises to make this the biggest Free* Comic Book Day Ever! *Are we really giving this away?! YES!
Two adaptations of television episodes.  “Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H” was written by Paul Dini, and “Avengers Assemble” was written by Man of Action.  It’s all screen-capture cartoon fumetti, but works for kids, who are the main audience for this comic.  “HatAoS” premieres August 11 on Disney XD, and appears to be a team of Hulksters (with Rick Jones as the sidekick).  Worth a look-see if I’m channel surfing.
The Avengers story was very light… but the series premieres May 2th, with the Falcon joining the movie grouping.
Kudos to Disney Magazines for advertising their kids magazines on the inside back cover!


STK524813 Image

Bleeding Cool Magazine celebrates Free Comic Book Day with an all-new issue dedicated to the best new comics, creators, and events of this year’s FCBD!  Filled with all-ages accessible previews, interviews, and articles that help the fans to enjoy the comic collecting hobby, BCM FCBD is the perfect supplement to help readers new and old find the best comics and expand their experience at the party into a passion for a lifetime.  In this issue, we give the new FCBD reader everything they need to become a lifelong collector – a Collecting Comics 101 feature, the Top Genre & Starter Graphic Novels in stores, and Tips and Tricks for the Back Issue Hunt!  This perfect entry point into Bleeding Cool Magazine is ideal for giving readers tons of extra FCBD content and to introduce our hot comics, speculation, and unique brand of entertainment to a host of new customers.
48 pages of articles!  Those cheeky monkeys sold advertising inside!  But it’s good, offering a variety of articles on comics, including recommendations  of new titles and old.  If you remember the old Wizard FCBD offerings, this is similar, but much better in tone and content.  Each article has a short URL, which encourages readers to visit the website, or share online.
My favorite article was the FCBD price guide.  Priciest?  Sixth Gun #1 from 2010.  (Whooda thunk?)
Were I comics retailer with access to a preview, I would order this in bulk and make sure every visitor gets a copy.  It’s a good handbook, better than Gemstone’s Overstreet’s offering.


buck rogers fcbd

(W/A/CA) Rick Yager
Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, the first, best and original sci-fi hero is supporting free comic book day with a special re-print of two complete Sunday stories by fabled artist Rick Yager, who defined the look of the character for over twenty years.  Hermes Press’ Buck Rogers FCBD issue will feature two complete, exciting storylines starring Buck Rogers and Wilma Deering in “The Mind of Minds” and “Wilma to the Rescue.”  These stories have been painstakingly digitally reconstructed to perfection and look better than the original newspaper Sundays!  Hermes Press’ Buck Rogers FDBD issue will also offer bonus material and tons of surprises!
Two Sunday storylines are featured.  The Sunday pages are reproduced and are legible, but the detail suffers.  Hermes adds a few extras, like advertisements, the first seven daily strips (his original origin), and…
Two new Buck Rogers titles!  First is the collection of the Western Publishing TV comics in a $50 hardcover.
Then, in August, Howard Chaykin writes and draws the original version!
Worth a look when it comes out!


mr puzzle fcbd

(W/A/CA) Chris Eliopoulos
Who is Mr. Puzzle, you ask? Well, he’s the perfect fit for any problem, of course! And Capstone brings him to you for the perfect price…FREE! Follow Mr. Puzzle on two exclusive, never-before-seen adventures by Chris “Elio” Eliopoulos. Watch the superhero stretch, bend, shrink, and grow, all to keep the folks of Busyville safe. Don’t miss this two-for-none of fun with Mr. Puzzle!!
These comics are in the style of manga slapstick, which works, since the stories feature a character who can change his shape to solve all sorts of problems!  This will be a 128-page graphic novel in August, from Capstone.
Capstone is little-seen in comics shops, as they sell to schools and bookstores.  They are best known for the “DC Super-Pets” chapter books, and there’s an ad for a character encyclopedia!  (Please, IDW, license this franchise and produce comics!)
All ages!  Grab an extra copy for your friendly neighborhood school librarian!  Retailers, mail a copy along with a cover letter to local schools, offering to serve as a comics consultant!  Or maybe Capstone could partner with ComicsPro, with local retailers serving as ambassadors at local trade shows and educator conferences!



(W) Matthew Sturges (A) Jean-Paul Deshong (CA) Stephanie Hans
The Little Mermaid has been captured by a cruel wizard, who intends to keep her locked away forever. But help comes in the form of a valiant one-legged tin soldier whose heart is far bigger than he is. Can the Little Mermaid escape her vicious captor with nothing but a talking toy to guide her? Find out in this fairy tale for all ages written by Matthew Sturges (Jack of Fables, Doctor Who).
Not my cuppa.  It seems that Vertigo and Zenescope has already filled this niche.  But then, I don’t really read GFT either.  Perhaps mermaids are the next big thing…


DC nation fcbd

Publisher: DC
This super sampler is the perfect place to check out two sensational series from the DC Kids line, Beware The Batman and Teen Titans Go!, based on Warner Bros. Animation’s new animated series coming soon to Cartoon Network’s DC Nation Saturday morning programming block. It includes two exciting, all-new stories that readers of all ages will enjoy!
A quick “Beware the Batman” story and “Teen Titans Go!, plus filler from the DC Nation TV block.



Publisher: NBM
(W/A) Disney, JayJay Jackson (CA) Disney
Papercutz presents DISNEY FAIRIES featuring Tinker Bell, along with comics from the new hit series, STARDOLL! There’s only one fairy in Pixie Hollow who can’t fly- Water-Talent Fairy, Rani. Why doesn’t Rani have wings? Was she always this way? Find out in “Tinker Bell and the Wings of Rani”.
I’m not the audience for this, but I got a bit confused over some jargon.  Otherwise, the first story teaches a lesson to the bossy Vidia, the second tells the origin of Rani, a wingless fairy who excels in water, and the third features Tink’s lightning bug Blaze.
Then there’s a preview of Stardoll, a licensed property which features five female students enrolled at the Los Angeles High School of Fashion and Design.  Each has a distinctive fashion style, and a different professional goal, all of which, of course, deal with the fashion industry.  The art is a bit lackluster…it seems that a high school student did it on a computer using modeling software.  But, again, I’m not the target audience.



Publisher: VIZ LLC

(W) Akira Toriyama (A) Nobuhiro Watsuki, Nobuhiro Watsuki
A seminal series from a legendary creator. Dragon Ball, a wry update on the Chinese “Monkey King” myth, introduces us to Son Goku, a young monkey-tailed boy whose quiet life is turned upside-down when he meets Bulma, a girl determined to collect the seven “Dragon Balls.” If she gathers them all, an incredibly powerful dragon will appear and grant her one wish. But the precious orbs are scattered all over the world, and to get them she needs the help of a certain super-strong boy…
During the violent upheaval of the Bakumatsu era, Hitokiri Battosai was a feared and ruthless assassin. But now that the Meiji Restoration has begun to heal the wounds of civil war, Battosai has taken up a new name…and a new calling! He is now Himura Kenshin , a rurouni wanderer who has vowed to only draw his sword to protect those in need. But not everyone is pleased with Kenshin’s new direction, and enemies from his dark past have vowed to bring him down!
This was a bit confusing… it was a flip book, and I kept flipping it over, not realizing that it read right-to-left!
The Dragonball story has Goku and Kuririn competing to find a specific rock in thirty minutes, as the winner gets dinner.
Rurouni Kenshin: Restoration sets up the basic story, which takes place in 1879,  during the Meiji Era which modernized Japanese society.  Not my cuppa, but it is a historical drama with fighting.

endangered fcbdENDANGERED WEAPON B

Publisher: AAM/Markosia
(W) David Tallerman (A/CA) Robert Molesworth
What kind of lunatic forces a grizzly bear to wear mechanized combat armor and fight his battles?   What kind of fiend kidnaps a beautiful Polynesian computer genius to be his child bride?  And just who has a ninja for a butler anyway?  Meet the Professor: eccentric, scientist, explorer and Englishman par excellence.  Madcap steampunk high jinks in Endangered Weapon B.
Five different graphic novels are profiled here (with EANs on the table of contents!  That’s how you do it!)  We get some flashback origins with Endangered Weapon B, a cypersteampunk series crossed with Indiana Jones.
The other four titles get an introductory ad page (yes!) with a two-page preview of the comic (meh).  I’d give “Endangered” another look when the graphic novel ships.  The rest don’t seem that interesting.
(W/A/CA) Hal Foster
This full-color comic collects two Prince Valiant stories from Hal Foster’s 1950 peak: “Home Again,” in which Val, Aleta, and newborn baby Prince Arn enjoy an eventful ocean journey back to Thule, and “The Challenge,” in which another knight’s unwelcome advances on Aleta result in a classic duel with Valiant.
As a kid, I would read every comic in the Sunday paper, including the “realistic” strips which were more soap opera than gag strip (although some of the gag strips should have been choked).  That included Prince Valiant, which had nice art, but a story impossible to follow.
Fantagraphics corrects that, using a simple four-panel grid to showcase the beautiful art and captions.  (You do not mess with the Lady Aleta.)  Fantagraphics has done a fine job reprinting the strips, so I will take a look the next time.


gossamyr fcbd

(W) David Rodriguez & Various (A) Sarah Ellerton, Charles Paul Wilson (CA) Charles Paul Wilson, Sarah Ellerton
Return to the fantastic world of Gossamyr as Th3rd World’s critically acclaimed, all-ages series continues in an brand new, original, adventure just for Free Comic Book Day! The Lorelarks are tasked with chronicling the tales of Gossamyr. But when a young novice feels that the growing legends of Jenna and her brother Denny might become a danger to the siblings, she is moved to action and challenges the code of her order. Also in this issue, the saga of the New York Times Bestselling Graphic Novel, The Stuff of Legend continues!
A brief recap, and a bit of metastorytelling, for Finding Gossamyr.
The flip side recaps The Stuff of Legend, and foreshadows the next story arc in Volume 5.
Both will get a closer look from me when I come across the books.


fubar fcbd


(W) Jeff McClelland, Shawn Aldridge (A) Jeff McComsey, Steve Becker (CA) Mike Hawthorne

The New York Times-best selling zombie series FUBAR returns with an all-new Free Comic Book Day one-shot! This 32-page issue contains four stories that span the entire American experience from Valley Forge to the present day. Select stories from FUBAR: American History Z (in Previews this February) will put you in the boots of the founding fathers as they come face to face with the walking dead. If you’re new to FUBAR, now’s the perfect time to jump on board!

What if zombies appeared during historical wars?  The Iraq War, Valley Forge, Bombing of London, the Cold War in New Jersey, and Pancho Villa (starring George S. Patton written by Chuck Dixon).
I’m not a big zombie fan, and most of the stories were the typical “surprise zombie attack” with some famous people added to make it interesting.  Nothing too clever.


grimm fcbd


(W) David Greenwalt & Various (A) Jose Malaga (CA) Whilce Portacio
Discover the characters, creatures and inspiration behind the storyline of NBC’s hit-series, Grimm!  From the producers of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, Grimm features Portland homicide detective Nick Buckhardt, as he discovers he’s descended from a long line of “Grimms,” who are charged with keeping balance between humanity and the creatures of myth.  With newly awoken abilities to detect the evil lurking among us, Nick struggles to keep his old life separate and safe as he becomes ever more entrenched in the ancient rivalries of the Grimm world.
The first story introduces the main characters as they investigate a kidnapping of a multi-shapeshifter wedding couple.  The hero’s mother, part of a long lineage of monster-seers, is off in Europe, dealing with a magical macguffin.  I’m not a fan, so I wouldn’t read it again.


harbinger fcbd


(W) Joshua D. M. Dysart & Various (A) Clayton Henry & Various (CA) Clayton Crain
Everything you need to know about the Valiant Universe in 2013 happens right here this Free Comic Book Day! The critically acclaimed, best-selling comics launch of the decade throws it into high gear with HARBINGER WARS, Valiant’s first-ever family crossover! The blistering conflict between BLOODSHOT and HARBINGER will crack the Valiant Universe in half and reveal the true cost of power.  Plus — who will stand to oppose X-O MANOWAR on PLANET DEATH? What adventure lies beyond the horizon for ARCHER & ARMSTRONG?  Who is the true heir to the legacy of the SHADOWMAN? And what top-secret projects could possibly be coming next? Get all the answers right here.
A sneak preview to the next Valiant crossover.  I haven’t been reading the new titles, so I don’t know what’s what.  But it’s got a Quantum and Woody preview, so maybe I’ll give the first issue a try.


dredd fcbd

(W) John Howard, Joe Collins (A/CA) Brian Bolland
In advance of IDW’s coming ongoing series re-presenting the best Judge Dredd stories from the past with all-new coloring, this special FCBD release offers one of the most beloved Dredd stories of all time: the introduction of Judge Death, with all-new color! Plus: bonus “Walter the Wobot” strips appearing in color for the very first time, all beautifully illustrated by the brilliant Brian Bolland!
The Judge Death arc!  Walter the Wobot!  And numerous series and collections coming from IDW!

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