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Free Comic Book Day

Todd Powelson
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To celebrate the release of the Thor movie on May 6th, and because May 7th is Free Comic Book Day, I figure it is a good time to write about comics books once again. Like I need an excuse, there is so much good stuff out there! Below is a list of some favorites that I’ve been reading (or re-reading) over this last year. If you find yourself in the store for Free Comic Book Day maybe you’ve already heard of these books, but if not check these out:

Even though I am extremely sentimental about Marvel characters, the truth is, I don’t read their books very much anymore. I noticed a long time ago that both they and DC were way too event driven, trying to tell a simple story in as many issues and titles as possible (got to buy ’em all!). That’s lame and even boring. But lately I’ve been catching up on Nova, and it is exceptional. And not just Nova, but the whole Marvel Cosmic, especially when written by Abnett and Lanning.
Check it out: Nova | Motion Comic

Zombies have always completely creeped me out, but fascinated me at the same time. Even though I’ve made a few t-shirts designs featuring zombies myself, I’ve got to admit, zombies are way overdone at this point. However, the Walking Dead deserves all of the praise it has gotten. It is spooky, hopeless and brutal. Pretty much everything a good zombie story has to be. You may have also heard about the AMC TV series that is based (loosely) on the comic, or maybe even seen it. It is also very good and worth watching.

After more then ten years and 27 issues, Planetary finally wrapped up. I can’t really say it was worth the wait, because it would have been nice if it was finished a long time ago. Sometimes years would go by between each issue. Kind of funny but, so long I’d sometimes forget which issues I already owned and I’d end up buying duplicate copies. But it is still great. If you haven’t read this story, try it. Fantastic artwork by John Cassaday, and written by one of my favorite writers Warren Ellis.

I’m not completely sure if I should include Black Hole, because I’m not quite sure what I think of it. It’s good, but also weird, depressing, disturbing, and even a little slow at times. Still, there is a lot of beauty here too. Especially in the artwork, which is superb. As a matter of fact, I think writer and artist Charles Burns may be one of the most talented artists publishing today. So, even though I don’t know what to think about it, Black Hole is definitely a quality book. And I’ve got to admit, I love the horror comics.

Speaking of horror comics, does it get any better than Hellblazer? With 278 quality issues published, reading about John Constantine in the pages of Hellblazer almost feels like visiting an old friend. “Whatcha been up to John? Fighting demons again? Oh that’s nice…” I haven’t read every issue that has been published, and I like that, because I know that if I ever need a good story I can find it here. I can even go back and re-read old issues and be completely satisfied.

Mike Mignola’s Hellboy may be one of my favorite characters, but I have come to think that Mignola’s other comic BPRD might be the better series. Hellboy and BPRD are set in the same universe, and they even fight many of the same critters. But I enjoy the super top-secret team in BPRD and the way they interact. You just have more of a good thing. And there is another thing that pushes BPRD over the top, and that is the artwork of Guy Davis. He is a top-notch talent!

This post is getting kind of long, but how could I not mention Atomic Robo? Imagine a self-aware robot who was created by Tesla, and travels through time fighting the likes of H. P. Lovecraft (for example), whose arch-enemy is Stephen Hawking. Well, you don’t have to imagine anymore, you just need to read Atomic Robo! I just realized, I think I have a couple of Atomic Robo trades I need to buy and catch up on. Sweet! I’ll have to get those right away, because this book is awesome.

That brings me to Creature Tech, another funny as hell book that I love. This book was written and illustrated by Doug TenNapel, who is probably most famous for the video game he also created called Earthworm Jim. The story in Creature Tech involves a scientist who works for the government unpacking discarded crates full of all sorts of supernatural stuff including a giant space eel, a slug monster, the “real” Shroud of Turin, and a bunch of demonic cats. How could you go wrong?

Okay, one more and I am done. The book I look forward to the most and will read immediately whenever something new comes out (well, in trade at least) would be Powers by Brian Bendis. This is basically set up like a cop show on TV or something, but with super-hero-poop-kicking action. From what I understand, this comic book will actually be made into a cop style TV show on FX soon too. I hope they do it right, because this is one of my favorites.

Probably went over-board with this post. Hope you pick up some of these comics up and enjoy!

Todd Powelson
Todd Powelson works as a Graphic Designer, Illustrator, and Visual Artist.

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