Can’t Wait for Saturday | Free Comic Book Day brings Absolute Power, Jonny Quest + more

Check out a few of the cool + free comics you’ll find at your local retailer this Saturday.

The comic industry’s biggest holiday returns tomorrow as shops around the world bring you Free Comic Book Day, the annual event that yes, indeed, does offer you free comics.

The annual event started in 2002 based on an idea from retailer Joe Field, owner of Flying Colors Comics and Other Cool Stuff in Concord, California. Since then, it’s become a cultural phenomenon, typically coming on the first Saturday in May, though sometimes in the past that wavered based on a new comic book movie’s release date. You can find a participating shop on the FCBD website, and see if any of your local shops are holding special events, sales or creator signings in conjunction with the event.

But of course, the focus is on the free comics. Many publishers use it as an opportunity to reshare a recent favorite or offer a prelude to an upcoming storyline or crossover. Still other will produce something wholly original or introduce a brand new title.

I’ve pulled out a few that look interesting to me below, and you can find the complete list of what could be available at your local shop on the FCBD site. Some things to keep in mind:

  • Not every retailer may have every title. Depending on their shop, they may elect to only have titles they think will excite their clientele.
  • Some retailers may limit the number of free comics you can take, while others may require a purchase.
  • Speaking of which, while titles are free to consumers, they are not free to retailers. So you may want to think about buying some other comics while you’re there regardless.
  • Some of the titles will also be available digitally, in case you can’t make it out on Saturday. So be sure to check your favorite digital comics site on Saturday as well.

DC’s Absolute Power/Marvel’s Blood Hunt

Both Marvel and DC will preview their big summer crossovers tomorrow, as their offerings include Absolute Power and Blood Hunt. Now, you might be thinking, “Hey, I already bought Blood Hunt #1, why would I need the Free Comic Book Day version?” According to Marvel, this issue features “exclusive original material,” and it should be noted that Blood Hunt isn’t the only big Marvel series to be highlighted here … there’s also a new Jubilee story by Gail Simone and David Marquez that serves as a prelude to the upcoming X-Men relaunch.

Archie Horror’s The Cursed Library Prelude

Archie Horror has built up a stable of supernatural/horror titles spotlighting, um, let’s call them off-brand versions of the Riverdale gang. This ain’t my mom’s Archie Comics (and she was a big fan back in the day, so I don’t say that flippantly). Most of these titles, though, have been stand alone … until now, it seems. Lately we’ve seen hints that the walls separating these different concepts may be breaking down, and we’ll see that happen tomorrow in Archie Horror Presents: The Cursed Library Prelude.

Written by Archie Comics Senior Director of Editorial Jamie L. Rotante with art by Craig Cermak, colors by Glenn Whitmore, and letters by Jack Morelli, the title promises that worlds will collide as two Archie Horror characters, Jinx Holliday and Madam Satan, “unpack the mystery behind the horrors that seem to descend upon Riverdale and its surrounding towns endlessly. Its source – the very library that Jinx calls her own.” I love a good infographic:

And here are a couple of preview pages:

Eye Lie Popeye #1 from Massive

A newer publisher, Massive Publishing has picked up some interesting licenses recently, including the rights to make comics starring Rey Mysterio and the recent Assassin’s Creed: Visionaries comics. I like that they seem to be taking a different approach to the material, too, like letting creators go crazy to share their own takes on the Assassin’s Creed franchise, for instance.

Which brings me to their Free Comic Book Day offering this year — Eye Lie Popeye #1. Yes, Manga Popeye! It’s written and drawn by Marcus Williams, and here’s a look inside:

In this brand-new series, the classic comic strip and cartoon character has been reimagined for the modern age by Writer/Artist Marcus Williams (Marvel’s Captain America). Eye Lie Popeye updates the pop-culture icon in a high-energy, manga-inspired take that channels the action of top-selling manga staples like One Piece and Dragon Ball. This new incarnation of the classic cast will appeal to both traditional comic fans and younger manga readers alike as it explores Popeye’s past and finally reveals the century-long mystery of how he lost his eye! Was it an epic battle or some nautical accident? The truth finally comes out as an old enemy from the sea returns to face off against the Sailor Man himself.

Popeye combined with One Piece wasn’t on my bingo card, but ‘ll take it.

Conan: Battle of the Black Stone

Titan has two comics available for Free Comic Book Day this year, one featuring Doctor Who and this one spotlighting their successful Conan the Barbarian title. Conan: Battle of the Black Stone kicks off a new storyline starring everyone’s favorite barbarian, and the story is by regular Conan writer Jim Zub, with artist Jonas Scharf. (There’s a nice article up on the Conan website all about Zub and his approach to the character).

Here’s a preview:

Jonny Quest

So I think I missed the news that Dynamite’s line of animation-inspired comics had a new addition coming — Jonny Quest, by Joe Casey and Sebastian Piriz. That’s a team I can get behind, so I’m excited to see we’ll get a preview tomorrow. Dynamite has made some big waves recently with the launch of Thundercats and, just this past week, the new Space Ghost comic, and now with Jonny Quest coming up it looks like they could have another winner.

This is just the tip of the iceberg as to what you can expect to find at your retailer this Saturday. Be sure to check the Free Comic Book Day site to see what else you’ll find.

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