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Free Comic Book Day 2006 84

Julio Ojeda-Zapata writes "It's Free Comic Book Day (May 6), and what better way to mark the occasion than a comic about comic books? A reporter and artist at the St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press newspaper teamed up to honor the comic-book form -- imitation is the finest form of flattery, as they say. The comic is available online as a slide show, as well as in downloadable PDF form. As a bonus, the paper's 2001 manga-style tribute to manga (by the same artist, but with a dramatically different look and feel) has been reposted." More information is available at the official Free Comic Book Day 2006 site.
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Free Comic Book Day 2006

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  • I recently read Watchmen [amazon.com] , which I had often heard comic fans praise as elevating the comic format to legitimate literature. I found it rather disappointing, for reasons I set out in my Amazon review (namely the trope of the supervillian explaining the whole thing to the heroes). What comics would you propose to someone who wants to read something just as deep and well-crafted and a novel? I've admired Neil Gaiman's prose efforts, do the Sandman comics hold to the same fine standards?
    • you want something as deep and well crafted as a novel then it'll pretty much have to be a novel. There are limits to what the comic/ graphic novel format can do, you can't really have pages of deep description, it all has to be able to be expressed pretty much as a picture with only fairly small amounts of dialogue. If you don't like gory pictures and violence then a lot of the stuff out there won't be for you. I thought spawn was quite good, although tastes will be as individual as what you like to wat
    • by EvilIdler ( 21087 ) on Saturday May 06, 2006 @09:04AM (#15276450)
      Oh yes, Sandman is deep AND entertaining. There are also other comics
      that can be considered to be in the same universe, like Lucifer, Books of
      Magic and Hellblazer. The characters certainly mingle now and then.
      (Any of these series will introduce you to a ton of different writers
      and artists who have made many other comics worth reading)

      Poison Elves is another indie comic that tries to be more than just
      action drawings, although there's an unhealthy amount of murder at times ;)

      100% is the name of a 5-parter by Paul Pope. It being a Vertigo release
      should be a hint that it's not for kids, either. One word: GASTRO!
      Sci-fi without the aliens is always the best.

      If you didn't enjoy Watchmen, you may also hate V for Vendetta, Promethea
      and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. But that's not an excuse to
      take a peek.

      Grant Morrison is sort of in the same league, except crazier; his Invisibles
      and The Filth are my faves.

      Warren Ellis is a bit hit and miss in quality, I think, but he writes
      for the love of it, not to become rich(er). Transmetropolitan is his
      greatest masterpiece. Mostly alien-less future "society", in a world
      where they lost track of what year it is. It could be considered almost
      post-apocalyptic, except it looks more like an on-going process.

      On the Image label, please skip past Spawn and head straight for The
      Walking Dead. I started on the first issue, not really expecting to like
      it, but now I have 25 issues in my collection. It's got zombies. How
      could any Slashdot-reader resist? No ninjas or pireates, though. Well,
      perhaps *one* ninja.
    • Sandman is a deep, long story, I've enjoyed it.
      Also there is Cerebus the aardvark, but at 6000 pages I couldn't read it all at once.
      I'd recommend Joe Sacco's "Palestine" and "Safe area Gorazde" for a good look at situations you won't get through evening news.
      Marjane Satrapi's "Persepolis" and "Persepolis II" are also a good read about a girl from Iran.
      And of course "Maus" is just better than awesome.
      • by mad.frog ( 525085 ) <steven@crinklinP ... minus physicist> on Saturday May 06, 2006 @01:14PM (#15277516)
        Cerebus is a fascinating work of art... 300 issues (exactly), all written and drawn by the same two guys, with the main writer/artist (Dave Sim) the main driving force. Unfortunately, while the first 200 or so issues had brilliant parts ("High Society" and "Church & State" in particular), the last part is... well... challenging. Not least because Dave Sim seems to have gone clinically insane at some part along the way. And no, I'm not exaggerating.
        • Cerebus was great at first but eventually got bogged down in complete and utter bullshit. To say Sims is batty is to malign bats. If you can pick up the first few "Swords of Cerebus", those were fun. Eventually the comic went into some high school psych-class universe that apparently Sims thought was "clever".
    • While Watchmen is one of the strongest pieces of comic book "literature", it unfortunately relies on a pre-knowledge of the super-hero genre. I feel that it can't be appreciated on its own, since it is essentially a deconstruction of prior work.

      I believe that the most shining example of a work that is accessible to "outsiders" is easily Maus by Art Spiegelman. (Don't just take my word for it, it won a Pulitzer Prize!) At its core, it's the true story of the author's father's experiences surrounding the

    • All the stuff other people have replied with is great, so I'd like to add a couple of reccomendations of my own.

      Bone, by Jeff Smith, is fantastic. It's black & white, and a little bit lighter (though not all the time) than a lot of the other stuff being pushed. The entire run is available in TPBs or in one giant phone-book sized volume.

      Mike Mignola's Hellboy is great fun. The art is beautiful and it's got a very pulp-action feel with good writing and good stories. A number of the stories are lifted dire
      • Bone is currently being reissued in colorized form by Scholastic. It's a FABULOUS read for all ages and highly recommended.

        Hellboy is one of my current favorites. The stories are good, but the art (IMHO) is stupendous; Mignola is one of the top comic artists working today.
    • I'm not sure if this would count, but I haven't "read" comic books for decades.... except for Planetary. It's by Warren Ellis, the artwork is quite good, and the premise (quoting here)

      We gather information on the hidden wonders of the world.

      Mystery archaeologists. There's a hundred years of fantastic events that planetary intends to excavate.

      We're mapping the secret history of the twentieth century.

      Now, this may be too straightahead. It involves superheroes. It adds in variants of all sorts of history:

      • I haven't read many comics, but I have read most of planetary after a friend shoved some copies into my hand and made demands. The thing with Planetary is, although I thought it used the whole premise well, as a great way of telling a story, but the series as a whole lacked that novel-like depth being discussed earlier. It almost came off as if the writer had an idea, and wanted to do it in a multi-book story arc but had to cram it into a fraction of the pages. I felt a little unfulfilled.

        Compare with so
        • Planetary is so well done that I never noticed any "lack of depth". And in fact, if you had kept reading, you would now notice that it is all coming together, and that all the bits you thought weren't related actually are. That random guy in the first few issues that became part of a ship? Not so random after all. It is a fantastic series. The art alone would justify it's purchase, but it is also one of Ellis' better ongoing ideas.
    • My favourite is Moonshadow (sub-titled "my journey to awakening"), a 12-issue series. It's done completely in watercolours and is thoughtful, profane, funny, and poignant. There were even favourable reviews from Kurt Vonnegut and Ray Bradbury!
    • You might want to check out some web comics. Digger [graphicsmash.com] is great. If Alan Dean Foster and Terry Pratchett were to write a comic, Digger would be the result. If you want you can get Vol 1 in paper form.
    • I would like to officially go on record as stating that the Green Lantern was the first expression of nanotechnology in Western fiction...

      ["In brightest day, in blackest night..."]

    • There are a number of comics that I think are fun like Stray Bullets, Milk & Cheese, Midnight Nation. But for my money, nothing comes close to what Chris Ware's been doing with Acme Novelty Library. Look at the way he establishes a character is adopted using an almost entirely wordless diagram [amazon.com]. Admittedly, the plot isn't the type to keep you on the edge of your seat, but the artistry is second to none, IMO.
    • Watchmen is more about the presentation of the story than the story itself. About the structute of the narrative mirroring the plot mirroring the setting.

      You have to look at the pretty pictures.

      Look at the way Moore and Gibbons show one thing while talking about another in the captions. And at the same time foreshadowing another.

      Or the precise timing that is created when Rorschach walks under a blinking neon light.

      Or the comic within the comic. It is pretty hard to do the same thing in another medium. In ci
      • Yeah, it is a cliche to have the villain gloat about his plan. But the difference is that Ozymandias did it AFTER his plan was completed.

        Yeah, and in an exchange that some consider to be one of the best lines in all of superhero-dom (myself included). After the heroes discover the details of a plan that would involved the killing of millions of innocents, they confront the would-be perpetrator, who responds:

        "Do it?" Dan, I'm not a republic serial villain. Do you seriously think I'd explain my masterstroke i

      I find it interesting that you were disappointed by the use of the "villain explaining the whole thing" in Watchmen; I found this to be one of Moore's most successful integrated commentaries on a comic-book storytelling trope. Because Ozymandius explains everything AFTER he had already done it, the story benefits in several ways. First (and most obviously) is the element of surprise (in that this trope has been stood on its head, and then in the several pages following that depict the chaos
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Best day EVER! :-)
  • How about renaming it "comic book free day"? People could need one of those (especially in Japan).
  • I recently found this free collection [comicbookresources.com] of comic book/cartoon theme music (MP3s).
  • For anyone around the Dallas, Texas area, I highly encourage you to attend C.A.P.E. [zeustoys.com] (Comic and Pop-culture Expo) at Zeus Toys & Comics [zeustoys.com]. C.A.P.E. is a free event held in the parking lot outside Zeus Toys & Comics from 10am to 6pm. This year's featured guests include:
    • Bryan Hitch (The Ultimates)
    • Gail Simone (Birds of Prey, Villains United, etc...)
    • Tony Bedard (Exiles)
    • And many more!

    Disclaimer: I am not a Zeus employee. I'm just a loyal customer.

    • Yes, this was great fun. I got to meet Kristoph^h^hfer Straub who does the webcomic "Starslip Crisis" (http://www.starslipcrisis.com/ [starslipcrisis.com]), and he was sitting next to PvP creator Scott Kurtz. Lots of cool folks were there, depending on your tastes in comics there was something for everyone. And Zeus has all their back issues out for a quarter each. And I picked up a Serenity Movie poster! Definitely a great expo.
      There's still a little time left if you are in the area.
  • teamed up to honor the comic-book form -- imitation is the finest form of flattery, as they say.
    And what a dull imitation. I've never read anything more boring.
    Dont even bother reading that "comic" they've made. It could aswell be a powerpoint presentation.

    Informative or flamebait? Fuck you.
  • by P-Nuts ( 592605 )
    It's also International No Diet Day [cswd.org] today. Surely this is just a coincidence [wikipedia.org].
  • As a bonus, the paper's 2001 manga-style tribute to manga (by the same artist, but with a dramatically different look and feel) has been reposted.

    Maybe it's just me, but would anyone else like to see this die in the water ASAP? The reason I personally read manga is because I tend to find more mature stories on the topics I enjoy reading (Mecha mostly). The style doesn't make any difference what so ever, it's just there and will always be there. The only thing I really like about the style, is when they rele
    • Was going to mod on this but decided to reply instead. Almost everything you said is a mirror image of why many comic fans think manga is... well... bleh. The whole "inteligent stories only get read by a few people" argument can be tossed right back at you. I've seen some anime that was pretty good, and some that was pretty bad and nope, no way to tell it apart on the shelf. Most book stores (where the majority of fans get it from) don't even seperate the borderline porno/mature readers from the regular
      • May as well make this a full conversation.

        You've got a good point. But most comic fans I know don't get bought stuff by their parents. Most "adult" mangas (aka doujis) normally have semi clad women in a sexual position on them. It's normally easy to pick them out.

        Most the stuff you've described is from children's anime/manga. Most fans don't seem to get that Naruto/Whatever is aimed at children and will always be mostly childrens things. These are like the ten million live action "adventures for kids" we sa
        • that's the thing with manga, you can go from reading a story about 5 frogs invading Earth (Keroro Gunsou) to a story about a guy who gets super powers from stealing panties and wearing them (Hentai Kamen) right to a war drama (various Gundam things). There's just more variety out there than in the Western side.

          I mean thats the thing with western comics, you can go from reading a story about fairy tale charcters (fables), to a war drama (Fury : Peacemaker) to a story about bug exterminators (The Extermin
          • I was going to mention the book market when I first read his response! It pumps out stuff, from one extreme to another (erotica - romance - chick lit - memoirs - fiction - mysteries - thrillers - science fiction - horror, all with a few stops along the way) and if you've ever been to a library book sale you're going to see a wide selection of crud that's almost indistinguishable and a bunch of books that were either good or popular but have been discarded (this year I've seen more copies of Secrets of the
  • 100 Bullets (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mad.frog ( 525085 ) <steven@crinklinP ... minus physicist> on Saturday May 06, 2006 @01:22PM (#15277543)
    Surprised no one has mentioned 100 Bullets, by Azzarello and Risso. It's still an ongoing series, but the first few years are out in collected form, and have many excellent self-contained stories.

    The initial conceit is that some figure with a ruined life is approached by a mysterious figure known as "Agent Graves", who presents them with an attache containing proof of who is responsible for their ruined life (e.g., framing them for kiddie porn), along with a gun and 100 "untraceable" bullets... and the promise that any action they choose to take with this evidence and weapon will have no legal consequences.

    This may seem like a concept without much opportunity for diversity of plot, but they find many ways to take it in directions you don't expect. And -- this is crucial -- there's nothing supernatural going on ("Agent Graves" is just a clever name).
  • Here's the result I got after entering my zip code:

    The code does not appear to be valid.

    Yeah right.

  • As an ant freak, I like reading comics that have ants. I know Ant-Man is one of them. Are there any others?

Life in the state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. - Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan