It’s hard to believe Free Comic Book Day has been a geeky family destination for 15 years. For many families, including many of our GeekDads and GeekMoms, it is practically a holiday.
This year should be no exception, as comic book stores and other booksellers world-wide will offer 50 titles from several well-known and independent publishers, ranging from all ages titles to classic re-issues.
Choosing the best titles to grab this year can be a challenge, especially since many locations limit the amount of titles any one visitor can pick up (for good reason, too, as many shops want to make sure as many customers as possible get a chance for a free comic).
To help those who still aren’t sure which titles to go for this year, a few of our own GeekMoms, GeekDads, and their families, have offered to share their own “Most Wanted” titles for 2016. Fair warning, a couple of titles have made the list of more than one of our contributors. This may be a pretty fair bet that comic fans might have sights set on a particular title, many others want as well. Early arrival is always recommended at these events.
The Sondheimer Family (from Shiri Sondheimer)
Our local, Phantom of the Attic, to which Hubs has been going since college (he even had them ship his pull list in the years we were living out of state), has historically allowed each person crossing the threshold three picks. It’s a big event and a small-ish shop, and I think the limit is intended to control the traffic-flow. There’s always tons of great cosplay and someone in my fair city has recreated Ecto-One to very accurate detail and parks it outside POTA every year, much to the confusion of the norms and college students from other countries.
• Shiri’s picks: We Can Never Go Home/Young Terrorists from Black Mask and the Valiant Preview
The first arc of We Can Never Go Home, in which a young woman discovers her superpowers and the horrific burdens accompanying them, was disturbing, epic, and innovative. I hadn’t realized they were planning on doing more but I’m pleased to see it is indeed the case. Young Terrorists appears rather an apropos companion.
I know nothing about 4001 AD other than the synopsis given on the FCBD page, but Valiant has been doing some great, off-beat, under the radar stuff the past couple of years, so I’m willing to give pretty much anything in their catalogue a shot. Also, I’m on a huge sci-fi kick right now, so I’m gobbling up everything that shows a semblance of high-tech body armor.
• Hubs’ picks: Suicide Squad from DC and The Tick from New England Comics
Hubs has a soft spot for Suicide Squad, despite having been burned before. And, like most gents of a certain age and geek rating, he finds it difficult to resist anything featuring Harley Quinn (not that I blame him). He’ll grab this one for the nostalgia factor and in hopes of recovering lost glory.
My whole family loves The Tick but we haven’t procured many of the comics. He’ll pounce on that one and then sit and giggle like a maniac while he reads it, which will be totally adorbs.
• Boy’s picks (age 6): Pokemon by Viz Media LLC and Sonic Sampler by Archie Comics Publications
Child has been obsessed with Pokemon since someone gave him his first card on the bus. He doesn’t quite have the patience to play yet, though he is amassing quiet a collection of cards. He and the girl both adore the TV show (ugh) so I can’t imagine he’ll walk by a comic featuring his favorite critters.
Boy has also been introduced, through a build-at-home cabinet and a Raspberry Pi emulator, to classic Nintendo, Atari, and Sega video games. He thinks Sonic is hilarious so he’ll hone right in on the blue hedgehog.
• Girl’s picks (age 3): DC Superhero Girls by DC and Awake by Action Lab Entertainment
Everyone in our house is into the SHGs in any and all forms and she’ll be excited to see a comic featuring these rad ladies. And I’ll have fun reading it to her.
I know nothing about Awake but I predict she’ll see the dragon, the magic, and the anthropomorphic animals and be immediately hooked. The story looks sort of Jedi-ish from the blurb, which is another very popular Thing around these parts.
The kids will probably swap around because girl loves Pokemon and Sonic and boy is a great fan of the Superhero Girls and dragons/magic.
GeekDad Jonathan’s Pick (from Jonathan Liu): Science Comics from First Second Books
First Second Books is one of my favorite comics publishers, and they’ve already published a few fantastic science-based comics, like Human Body Theater and Primates. This year, they’re kicking off a line of books called Science Comics, with topics like Coral Reefs, Dinosaurs, and Volcanoes. Their Free Comic Book Day issue is a two-part book about Coral Reefs and Volcanoes, but they’re not excerpts from the full books. Instead, Maris Wicks tells the story about her obsession with the ocean and her first experience with a real coral reef, and Jon Chad has a fictional story about an explorer of a frozen planet who wants to find a volcano to provide heat and warmth. It’s a great appetizer for these excellent comics that are coming later this year.
Evil Genius Mum’s Family (from Evil Genius Mum)
Our local usually has a standard DC and Marvel they give to everybody, and then we are each allowed to choose two from the collection. I predict the DC will be Suicide Squad and Marvel will be Civil War II, since both are in the Gold Comics section (could be wrong with discounting Cap America there). Here are our selections for this year:
• Evil Genius Mum’s picks: Spectrum from Automatic Publishing and Lady Mechanika from Benitez Productions
Spectrum is based on the fictional show created within the fictional world of Con-Man with Nathan Fillion and Allan Tudyk. Joe Benitez’s Lady Mechanika looks really interesting—woman wakes up in Victorian England with mechanical limbs and no memory. Steampunk mystery.
• Evil Genius Dad’s picks: MoonCop from Drawn & Quaerterly and Serenity/Hellboy/Aliens from Dark Horse
Serenity/Hellboy will be a nostalgic favorite for EG Dad, while MoonCop has quirky potential—either the dry humor will be a hit, or will bore him. Detailing the deadpan day-to-day of the last policeman on the colonized moon, I’m hoping it will tickle the funny bone.
• Sinister’s picks (age 9): Pokemon from Viz and Dream Jumper from Graphix
No brainer—Pokemon is a clear winner here, and Dream Jumper is about a kid who travels dreams and wants to save his friends. Just right for our nine-year-old.
• Nefarious’s picks (age 6): Doctor Who from Titan Comics and Science Comics from First Second Books
Nefarious is the experimenter who wants to build his own time-machine. So staple-favorite Doctor Who and some non-fiction fun in Science Comics will be perfect.
• Zaltu’s picks (age 2): Dark Horse All Ages Sampler and DC SuperHero Girls
Yes, she is only 2, but damned if she misses out. She loves reading, and pictures she can relate to. Dark Horse All Ages Sampler has Legend of Korra, How to Train Your Dragon, and Plants v Zombies. The latter not so much, but I know she’ll love the first two!
GeekDad Will’s Picks (from Will James): Dark Horse’s All Ages Sampler and Serenity/Hellboy/Aliens
My two picks include Dark Horse All Ages for my son. My three-year-old already loves getting into my comics so I thought this would be perfect. He loves How To Train Your Dragon (which is one of the three stories in this book), and I’m sure he love Korra and Plants vs Zombies as well.
For myself I chose the Dark Horse Serenity/Hellboy/Aliens book. Although I do read Hellboy, and am glad to be getting that story, the Serenity bit is the big draw here. I don’t think any Firefly fans can get enough of this crew so I’ll take whatever I can get!
The Tate Family’s Picks (from Lisa Kay Tate)
We’re fortunate to have a long-time membership to Asylum Comics and Cards, a local family-friendly shop, who focuses on making its members and customers feel special with year-round special events and giveaways for comic releases, cosplay contests for seasonal holidays and observances, and especially a wildly popular celebration for Free Comic Book Day. On the eve of the occasion, members are invited to a special preview party to get a glimpse of the titles they are most looking forward to getting the next morning. Since this is always a family affair for us, everyone in Clan Tate has already chosen the titles we most want to read come May 7:
• Lisa: Doctor Who: Four Doctors Special FCDB Edition by Titan Comics and Oddly Normal by Image Comics
There are so many great choices this year from Serenity to The Tick, but I just can’t help myself when it comes to Titan’s Doctor Who line. This has been my favorite comic read for the past year, and writer Nick Abadzis is one of the reasons for that. Plus, getting to pick up and issue where I can enjoy stories for both Christopher Eccleston’s and Peter Capaldi’s Doctor incarnations is a plus.
As for Oddly Normal, Otis Frampton’s playful style and off-beat humor is so fun and refreshing. This is great read, not just for anyone still navigating the strange and mysterious world of middle or high school, but for readers of all ages who just want to escape into an endearingly original story.
As for my family, I’ll let them speak for themselves:
• Rick (husband): Lady Mechanika by Benitez Producations
He says: “I love me a good steampunk story, and as a longtime Lady Mechanika fan, I was excited to see her show up on Free Comic Book Day with a special #0 FCBD edition. This issue includes the original 14-page one shot that first premiered in 2010 as well as a couple of excepts from two trade paperbacks. This special is a great intro to the character and her world as we look ahead to The Lost Boys of West Abbey coming to comic book stores later this month.”
• Molly (daughter, gamer girl, age 13): Assassin’s Creed by Titans Comics
She says: “I love playing video games. Whenever there is something to read related to one of my favorite games, I need to see what it is. The Assassin’s Creed comic looked really cool, and the art style looks amazing. I hope you can really get a background on both the Templars and Assassins. It will also introduce a new character, and adventure to look forward to.”
• Erin (daughter, superhero-in-the-making, age 6): DC’s Superhero Girls and Pokemon by Viz
Erin was all over both of these books, when she saw the covers. She loves DC SuperHero Girls “because, they’re cool,” she says. “Harley and Bumblebee are my favorite, because I like Harley’s hammer, and I like their hair. I like Katana, too. I know she’s a bad guy, but she’s cool. They make me want to be superheroes.” Captain America is still her favorite hero of all time, but she said these girls want to make her be a superhero, too. Well done, DC.
She also wants to get a hold of the Pokemon pocket comics, because, she says, “I love the panda dude and the cat dude, and I love learning about them all.”
Free Comic Book Day 2016 is Saturday, May 7. Visit their Comics page for a full listing of this year’s titles.