FCBD 2008: Future Visions, Past Rememberances and Present Failures

Jet City is not an official FCBD title, but a recent project of comics retailer Dale Morris.  Dale was kind enough to gift me the first and second issues of the planned series.

It’s strong enough to stand with 80% of what’s on the shelf.  In spite of stilted and expository dialog, the writing shows potential — mixing futuristic, super-heroic and coming-of-age elements.  (Some content is not appropriate for younger readers.)

The art (penciler: Josh Bentley; inker: Steve McPherson) can be crowded and difficult to interpret.  It’s in black and white, however; perhaps coloring would help.  But the real gem of Jet City is the work of cover artist David Edwards.

David recently signed copies of his debut novel I Remember Captain Heart at the local Hastings.  He is the author / illustrator of two children’s books and has compiled two volumes of songs and poetry.  (David is also the Vice-President of West Texas Writers.)

Devil’s Due Publishing offers a look at the near future in Drafted (writer: Mark Powers; artists: Chris Lie, Mike O’Sullivan, John Lowe).  Giant grub worms secretly invade Earth, causing earthquakes of unprecedented scale.  When a second alien race arrives to eradicate the worms, mankind declines their help.

In retaliation, the aliens destroy Earth’s most sacred city – Jerusalem.  Preying on humanity’s apocalyptic fears, they promote a unified world religion and servitude in their galactic army.

While DDP’s Drafted far surpasses last year’s Hack/Slash, which gets a gore-splattered ad in this issue, it fails to rise above a cliche story and politically correct ideology.

What says cool comics better than robots and dinosaurs?  Atomic Robo/NeoZoic from Red 5 Comics presents two fun alternate histories in this year’s FCBD offering.

In 1923 Nikola Tesla unveils the artificially intelligent Atomic Robo (writer: Brian Clevinger; artist: Scott Wegener).  The robot goes on to gain American citizenship and found Tesladyn – the go-to defense force against all manner of weirdness.

In this issue, set October 1961, Atomic Robo must stop a mad scientist from destroying the world.  The mission pits him against Soviet robots, huge weaponry and a bitter egomaniac with a really big atom-bomb. Classic storytelling, humor, bold art and wonderful coloring (Ronda Pattison) combine to delight readers.

NeoZoic takes us to a world where dinosaurs never died out, enduring side-by-side with mammals for thousands of generations. After a Telikos, largest of carnivores, snatches horses from her stable, Lilli and a reluctant accomplice set out to make sure it doesn’t happen again.  The resulting misadventure keeps readers smiling all the way through. Engaging art, beautiful earth-tone colors (Jessie Lam) and a funny story make this comic a treat.

Whether you’re and old fiend or fresh meat, Gemstone’s EC Sampler — with its delightfully mad cover of horrified villagers unearthing classic suspense stories — provides an excellent peak at EC Archives.  Each 212 page edition collects six issues from EC’s various titles.

This sampler resurrects four frightening funnies from the early 1950s.  Classic art and exciting concepts abound, but the best of this quartet is easily 1951’s ‘Spawn of Venus’ by Bill Gaines and Al Feldstein in which a ruined expedition to Venus spells doom for the human race.

The beating and murder of a young woman in 1953’s ‘Under Cover’ (Gaines, Feldstein, Wally Wood) make the comic questionable for younger kiddies, but the story calls readers to action against hatred and racism.

Marvel’s X-Men (writer: Mike Carey; penciler: Greg Land) get in on the FCBD action with a story about new X-man Megan Gwynn, codename: Pixie.  The cover’s depiction of a coy Emma Frost in low-riding pants and a breast-exposing top portends the book’s contents.  Both women are shown in scant clothing and sexually suggestive poses.

Pixie and the rest of the X-Men go toe-to-toe with a horde of demons in an inexplicably roomy mine shaft.  Excessive blood, lame villains and nonsensical plotting reveal how far the quality of the X-books have plunged over the last few years.

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About James A Woods
Freelance Writer, Constant Learner, Family Man

One Response to FCBD 2008: Future Visions, Past Rememberances and Present Failures

  1. Pingback: Post Roundup: Free Comic Book Day ‘08 « The Sky’s the Limit

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