I forgot all about Free Comic Book Day this year. I was in San Francisco for an academic conference and on my walk back to BART to go home, I passed by a comic-book store and, on a whim, went in.
The fellow behind the counter asked if I wanted some free comics from Free Comic Book Day. Oh, are these left over from last year, I asked? Um, no, he said. Today is Free Comic Book Day. It is? I asked. Holy crap! It's the first Saturday in May! It is Free Comic Book Day! Happily, they had ordered extras this year and had not ran out and I loaded up. I handed over the kid ones to the kids and haven't seen them yet. Sadly, most of the grownup ones were utter crap except for a couple that approached meh.
Which is why I want to single out Red 5 Comics's offering. Because it was topnotch, featuring two comics (Atomic Robo and Bodie Troll) I'm pretty tempted to pick up.
Atomic Robo started off both confusing and plodding, but swiftly righted itself---once the shock of in media res wore off, the cleverness of the dialogue began to ring out. The nature of FCBD books makes it hard to judge any comic, but it's certainly true that if the writing has an It Factor, that will shine through. And Atomic Robo, unlike almost everything else I read this year postFCBD, was sharp, well paced, and felt edited. Allelujah.
The other smart read appeared in the same volume. Unfortunately, the whole thing isn't online and I'm too laze to scan anything myself so all I can share is this unconvincing panel, but Bodie Troll is that rare thing, a cute kid-aimed comic that's well written with jokes that actually land because they're not trying to hard to be jokes but they're not assuming their target audience will just laugh at anything. Bodie looks like a guy worth hanging with.
So good job, Red 5. You appear to be about the only indie house in town taking the time to do things right. Thank you.