Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wednesday Is Still Free Comic Book Day For All I Care #68

DC Comics Mega Sampler 2010
Fearless Dawn/Asylum Press Sampler #1
S.E. Hinton/Fame FCBD 2010 Edition
The Tick's Free Comic Book Day Special Edition #1

DC Comics Mega Sampler 2010 (DC, 2010, $0.00)
I don't know how I missed this book, but when all my fellow Martian Manhunter fans told me he made an appearance within, I schlepped to the LCS and asked for it by name. I was half a week late, but the all ages books were all they had left, in droves, so they gave it to me anyway. The Batman: Brave and the Bold tale took the seemingly compulsive liberties granted every writer of J'Onn J'Onzz. There was some illogic you'd have to apply for a No-Prize to explain, and I'd have liked a more faithful revival of one Manhunter villain instead of the hodge-podge of three smooshed together, but it's a friggin' kids comic. The design work on the new characters was nice, and it was a pleasant enough seven page done-in-one.

Since I started my review at the back, I guess I'll work my way up to the front. I don't know if the Martian Manhunter tale will show up elsewhere, but the other two stories are incomplete and somewhat frustrating previews. Tiny Titans, a book geared a might too young for me to appreciate to begin with, was downright annoying in this truncated form. If this is geared for kids, how come there are jokes dependent on unexplained references to rather complex mainstream continuity? Those unnecessary ties have me recalling Psimon's deprivations in The Outsiders when I'm supposed to be focusing on a simple snowball fight. Then again, these stories are so basic, I expect my mind would have wandered anyway. I'm not a convert to Art Baltazar's childlike drawings either, so I guess I lack the gene that makes others giddy over this stuff.

Firstly/Finally, there's a Billy Batson & the Magic of Shazam adventure, this time only written by Baltazar, for a somewhat higher age bracket. Another excerpt, this cow stealing tale is at least serviceable when portioned out, and the winning art of Mike Norton put it over the top. Not quite enough to get me to try the full issue, but I'm certainly more open to trying the series should a favored guest star appear at a later date.

Super Friends is only represented through activity pages, but those are always a good time, and I love the design template on that book. All in all, this was a pretty decent sampler, with the self-contained Batman team-up insuring at least one complete adventure worth giving the whole thing a spin.

Fearless Dawn/Asylum Press Sampler #1 (Asylum Press, 2010, $0.00)
I’ve never heard of Steve Mannion, but he’s got this Dave Stevens/Mike Hoffman/Mitch Byrd good girl art look down. His dialogue is sophomoric and his captions don’t even make sense, but I can look at pretty pictures for his seven page Fearless Dawn preview and be content.

Based on the four page preview, Warlash: Origins is a Rob Liefeld script painted by some chump from a lesser issue of Heavy Metal. Brevity has its benefits.

Have you ever seen those creepy pornographic chicks-impregnated-by-aliens “3D Comics” on the intarwebs? The nine page Black Powder: Bloody Frontier Adventure looks and reads likes one of those done on the cheap, substituting cum shots for really phony looking bloodshed.

The eight page Farmhouse preview vaguely resembles a passable cable television movie, but the art looks like it was drawn with the drippings of the plastic ink cartridge of a ballpoint pen.

EEEK! is three two-page previews of Charlton quality Warren rip-offs of their own EC-knockoffs by Jason Paulos. I mention him by name because he’s only the second person involved in this project to not embarrass themselves to the point that I feel bad for referring to them directly. Paulos nails the period look of those old Charltons, but I can't speak for the stories, since none of the presumed twist endings are spoiled.

Finally, the four page Warlash: Zombie Mutant Genesis looks like it was drawn with the residue on the cotton at the end of the ink cartridge used on Farmhouse, as written by the guy what done Warlash: Origins after having smoked some of the used cotton.

In conclusion, someone at a proper publisher ought to write for Steve Manion, and Asylum Press needs to have a fight to the death with Bluewater Comics, because there should be only one publisher this lousy inflicted on the market at any given time.

S.E. Hinton/Fame FCBD 2010 Edition (Bluewater, 2010, $0.00)
In this seven page preview of the Lady Gaga story, a fat redneck slob bitches about the current state of music, becomes fixated on the singer, and thinks she’s a modern descendant of Bowie/Queen/Blondie. The video for “Alejandro” came out this week, which was over eight minutes of royalties due to Madonna circa the Blonde Ambition tour, plus some plagiarism of Ace of Base (“Don’t turn around, Alejandro—I saw the sign!”) One of the statements in the past two sentences contradicts the other. I’m late enough with this review that the actual book shipped today, and the fucktard lead character goes on to crossdress and sing karaoke. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, who submitted this story as a cruel prank/lost bet/sociological experiment to low rent publisher Darren G. Davis? No one wants this, anywhere, at any point in human history.

Next there’s a four page preview of the far more run of the mill Rock n’ Roll Comics style bland unauthorized biography of Taylor Swift… who is a nineteen year old country music artist with a squeaky clean image. You’d have trouble keeping the interest of an enthusiastic suburban teen if the entire Swift biography were four pages, and that’s including the Kanye incident and every publicist arranged relationship this chick has ever constructed. The best thing here is the nightmare inducing artist’s interpretation of Ellen DeGeneres, who is just waiting for you to fall asleep so she suffocate you with her vagina.

On the flip cover is S.E. Hinton’s “The Puppy Sister” adaptation. Like many Bluewater licenses, I know the original author, but the actual work is completely unfamiliar. It’s also absolutely dreadful, with art so amateurish it doesn’t deserve to be colored, outshone by the fucking digital lettering. Either it was ineptly scanned, or produced in the third world on a computer several generations out of date. Hand members of the intended underage audience crayons and see them come up with something more aesthetically suitable.

The Tick's Free Comic Book Day Special Edition #1 (NEC, 2010, $0.00)
I recall in the late ‘80s checking out some nth printing copies of the early Mirage Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics, and finding them just alright. I couldn’t quite understand how a mild Frank Miller parody had been parlayed into triple digit back issues, but I still had a set of the original four Turtle action figures before the end of the decade. I just thought it was cool that someone who owned their creation, working outside the Big Two, could end up with a cartoon phenomenon within just a few years.

I recall in the late ‘80s reading some reprints of early Tick issues, and liking them well enough, but was unwilling to continue paying a premium price for a lightweight black and white comic. It seemed pretty clever to mix the TMNT Miller parody with a cold lift of Keith Giffen’s Ambush Bug. Publisher NEC had shrewdly marketed the book to TMNT collectors via their comic store chain and prominent mail order ads in Big Two comics. It wasn’t a surprise that toy lines, a cartoon, and a live action show followed. I’m glad they had success slavishly copying the TMNT business model to an acceptable level of multi-media gain.

Point being, while I think the Tick was the more entertaining enterprise, looking back, it all seems a bit cynical and underwhelming. The art on the original stories is nice, the stories are amusing, but that’s about it. Goooooo pandering!

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