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Free Comic Book Day 2019

For the fifth year in a row, I have brought Free Comic Book Day to my library. I pick up a good selection of titles from my favorite comic book store, Graham Crackers, and offer them to the library patrons when they come in. I also had some Star Wars and superhero crafts available for kids to do as well. I know, I know…I’m pretty awesome to offer such epicness to my library community, and this year we had the biggest crowd yet. As an added bonus, I love getting a sneak peek of the titles, and this year I choose seven.

Hope proved to be my favorite of the seven stories I picked up. It introduced the story about Julie, a mother who is secretly an Ultra and keeping her secret hero identity even from her husband and daughter. When a car accident with her family reveals her secret, Julie’s life is upended and her daughter is taken from her. This was strong introduction with very promising story lines, in addition to the bright clean art. Perhaps because I am a mom myself, I could imagine myself in her shoes (plus who doesn’t wonder what they’d do if they unexpectedly obtained super powers).

As soon as I saw a pug on the front cover, I knew immediately that Mike Norton of Revival fame was the illustrator, so this was a must read for me. This story is mash up of two existing comics- Grumble, with a physic and wisecracking pug, plus The Goon, a muscled fighter of supernatural creatures. It was odd pairing of characters, definitely more geared for existing fans of either series vs a new reader like myself. At the end there was a reprint of the story Hillbilly.

My Favorite Things Is Monsters took the comic world by storm and for good reason: the author/illustrator Emil Ferris is crazy talented. In this comic three vignettes are offered- one that describes Ferris’s path to publication, a short about Karen and her brother Deeze talking to neighbors and a how-to-draw-a-monster segment.

In this issue we get a small, touching scene between Nancy and Steve, as Nancy is concerned her little brother Mike is not coping well after their monstrous adventures. They try to draw him out by encouraging him to return to his involvement with his role playing games. There is an additional Black Hammer story afterwards, which introduced me to Madame Dragonfly.

This issue had a few Marvel stories in them, and like I said after reading last year’s FCBD issue, it can be hard for someone who is mostly a fan through the movies to connect with these stories that vary in author voice, illustration style and time period. The first story had some heroes that I don’t usually associate with the Avengers, such as Ghost Rider and Blade, so that was amusing at one level. The second story, The Savage Avengers, had a much grittier vibe and featured Wolverine.

This issue contains two stories- one about Venom and his reemergence, and the second one is a light hearted romp between original Spider-Man Peter and the younger Miles. The first story is very dark and violent, so I found it interesting that they paired it with the next story that was all about the two Spideys arguing over pizza and could be read by a younger demographic than the first story.

Blood Shot gets yet another revamp, this time under author Tim Seeley. I read Bloodshot: Salvation for the first time last year, and was intrigued by this soldier of fortune, who would just like to be free of the shadowy agency Project Rising Spirit and the super powers he had forced on him that transform him. In this story, he saves a scientist from a dangerous cult and it serves as a prequel to the upcoming series.

All in all, I felt I picked up some strong titles. I was most intrigued with Hope, and liked the peeks into Stranger Things and My Favorite Thing Is Monsters. The others were good reading, but the free issues won’t make me pursue the series.

-Nancy

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Spider-Man/Deadpool: Isn’t It Bromantic

I have a habit of being enthusiastic about things. My family and friends know that if I like something, I will not shut up. I will mention it again and again and again. For example, do you know how many times my cameo in the graphic novel Revival (volume 8) can be brought up? Quite a lot in fact. Quite a lot indeed. It all started in college when I fell in love with Star Trek TNG. I could not stop talking about the episodes and characters. This is when I truly outed myself as the geek I am. My sweet husband has many of my interests, but I often want to talk about bookish things more at length than he does.  That reason was the genesis of this blog, as I wanted to find a community of like minded individuals. So what does this long introduction have to do with this Spider-Man/Deadpool book?

As I stated above, I get enthusiastic about books I like, and when I discovered and fell in love with the horror graphic novel series Locke & Key written by Joe Hill and illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez I mentioned it several times in this blog, and was eventually able to hound Michael, my friend who writes the awesome blog  My Comic Relief to read and review it. He felt the review would have a better audience match on his beloved Kalie’s blog Just Dread-full. His response after completing the six book series was to say “Nancy knows what she’s talking about and I should just read everything she suggests.” Damn straight- more people should do what I say (especially my three children)! Anyhoo- to finally get to this book review, I agreed to read a book of Michael’s choosing since he read mine. This book was his choice, as he is a huge Deadpool fan (he wrote a guest post for our blog this summer on guess who?) and although I am a Marvel fan, our blog’s lone Spider-Man review is Kathleen’s.

Both Spider-Man and Deadpool are known for their snappy banter, but it is Deadpool’s endless musings that get real raunchy. That’s why he’s known as the merc with a mouth and he has an obvious crush on the webbed wonder. The book starts out with the two entwined in villain’s Dormammu’s grasp, but of course the two escape after much verbal sparring. 

Spider-Man is up to here with Deadpool’s shenanigans, but Deadpool is trying valiantly to impress him and has turned over a new leaf (kind of) since he is now supposedly on the Avenger’s team.  However, he’s still a mercenary at heart and isn’t above accepting a kill contract on Peter Parker by another mysterious villian, as he he has been tricked into thinking Parker is evil and deserves to die. Deadpool justifies the contract, not understanding that he has sentenced Spider-Man to die if he goes through with the killing of Spidey’s alter ego.

In the meantime, Spider-Man and Deadpool have crazy bromantic adventures together, with Spidey softening towards Deadpool. A funny dance off between the two men ensue after Lady Thor and a cousin of Deadpool’s wife battle, and the women decide the men must dance for their pleasure to end the fight. During another segment we are introduced to Deadpool’s daughter, and while I wanted more backstory on that, that want will push me to read more stories about her origin and their daddy/daughter relationship.

But hanging over all this, is knowing that Deadpool is planning on killing Peter Parker. While I do want to avoid spoiling what happens, let’s just say nothing goes smoothly for these two heroes to establish a bromance. Knowing that Deadpool’s wife is Shiklah, Queen of the Undead, might give you some clues as to what happens next, but you didn’t hear it from me…

Is the book’s tagline “hijinks and hilarity ensue!” true? Definitely yes! Did the story always make sense? Definitely not! Taken in small doses, I think the dysfunctional “friendship” between these two men is hilarious. I loved the Deadpool movie, and like the cinematic’s most recent Spider-Man, but in the movies the age difference would stand in the way of a bromance. So it’s in print form that their team-ups should continue, for they just make such a cute couple!

My mind is so expanded after reading this story for now I know where to look for inappropriate jokes should I ever need them. Thank you Michael for this suggestion! This book helped me understand you a bit more, and your unique sense of humor. Now if I can just get you (and others!) to read the Revival series next. Don’t forget your own words, when I give you that suggestion 😉

-Nancy

Kelly, Joe & Ed McGuinness. Isn’t It Bromantic. 2016.

The Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1): Coming Home

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Straczynski, J. Michael, John Romita Jr., and Scott Hanna. The Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1): Coming Home. 2001.

Nancy challenged me to read a Marvel comic since I haven’t read/reviewed one yet. I’m never one to back down from a challenge =P I picked Spiderman because he’s the Marvel character I’m most familiar with, and this book in particular because I like the author.

Peter Parker feels more alone than ever. He just moved into a crappy apartment after Mary Jane’s departure. He feels himself growing distant from his Aunt Mae and his every day life. Then his world flips upside down when, out web-slinging one night, he happens upon a man who can cling to walls – just like Peter can. He’s not evil though, just… weird. He asks Peter all these philosophical questions about how he thinks he got his powers, saying that he needs to understand in order to survive what’s coming, and leaps off into the night. Something is pursuing Peter, something ancient and horrible that won’t stop until Peter is dead. Can Peter solve the riddle and survive something that no one else has before?

Overall, I liked it. Mostly on the merit that it was Spiderman and the writing was hilarious. There’s a bit near the end where two plant workers are making fun of Babylon 5, which of course is a show Straczynski wrote for. It cracked me up XD Peter’s perseverance and determination to win even though all the odds are against him was admirable and beautifully captured. The art really didn’t do anything for me. Most of it was okay, but the characters were oddly angular and I found the shading super weird, particularly on Peter’s face when he’s out of costume. Marvel isn’t my cup of tea but I liked this volume and I’m going to try another one written by another author I like =D Thanks for broadening my horizons, Nancy =P

– Kathleen

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