FCBD 2008: Worst and Best of All-Ages Comics

Kids Love Comics and Sky-Dog Press team up to bring us the worst all-ages comics imaginable for 2008’s Free Comic Book Day. Writing that tries but fails to be funny, extremely poor art and cutesiness infest the Comic Book Diner. The muddled palette on The Dreamland Chronicles (Scott Sava) strains the eyes, and the saccharine rhyme of Banana Tail (writers: Diane Mulrenan, Off White; artists: Kevin West, Mark McKenna) leaves a bad aftertaste.

Buzzboy’s (John Gallagher) fight with the Silencer seems enticing until force-feeding us five pages of anti-Comics Code Authority and anti-Christian rhetoric which pretends to be about censorship.

Update 6/9/8: I must apologize to Mr. Gallagher. He assures me that the content of his FCBD Buzzboy story is not anti-Christian and is definitely anti-censorship. See the comments on this post for more.

The Diner prints a Kids Love Comics Reading List advertising 22 titles. Three of those are FCBD offerings: NASCAR Heroes, Amelia Rules! and Owly.

Could NASCARHeroes be the worst FCBD comic ever? Amateurish art, horrendous color and unbelievably poor writing wreck this book.

In ‘Headless Stuntman’ (writer: Jeremy Diamond; artists: Peter Habjan, Rich Duhaney) NASCAR driver / superhero Jimmy Dash lands a coveted movie role. While on the set he must rescue his co-star — a stereotypically inept woman — from the ghoulish Headless Driver. The drama races to a confrontation with the villain, but doesn’t satisfy.

The ‘Special Secret Origin Featuere’ (writer: John Gallagher; artists: Habjan, Duhaney) reveals how Dash, his crew and his arch-enemy Jack Diesel gained their super-abilities. Diesel attempts to win races by cheating, so Dash abuses his own powers to beat him to the finish. NASCAR inc. should be ashamed to teach children situation ethics by showing the ‘good’ guy cheat in order to beat the ‘bad’ guy.

It’s true: Amelia does rule! Renaissance Press‘ tween hero Amelia learns to shoulder a friend’s burden when Joan’s dad is sent to Iraq in an excerpt from ‘The things I Cannot Change’. The layout is excellent; the art, impeccable. Unparalleled hand lettering gives every character a distinctive voice.

‘Specifically Next Tuesday’ previews The Tweenage Guide to Not Being Unpopular. Amelia and Rhonda suffer their “worst day ever” after a run-in with the popular girls at school.

Photos of kids performing an Amelia Rules! musical and an Indiana Jones parody starring Pajaman round out this heartwarming comic. Collected issues of Jimmy Gownley’s work are available in paper and cloth from ameliarules.com.

Top Shelf Productions moves us to tears and laughter with superb all-ages comics in Owly and Friends. Rolly-polly Owly (Andy Runton) and his faithful companion Wormy plan a pic-nic; but while assembling the table, they’re constantly interrupted by the needs of their friends. The duo doesn’t complain though, and when the table’s bolts fall into the grass those same friends come to the rescue.

A silent short from Ann and Christian Slade’s fantasy series features little dog Korgi resisting a bath and some of the most beautiful line work in the industry. The delightfuly unscary Johnny Boo (James Kochalka) teaches the Ice Cream Monster to scream, and the surrealistic Yam (Corey Barba) shares several silent adventures.

Disney‘s Gyro Gearloose makes an appearance this year as he plays Pied Piper, thwarts criminal mischief, feuds with neighbors and fails to stop Launchpad McQuack from crashing planes.

In 1960’s ‘Cave of the Winds’ (Carl Barks) Gyro helps Scrooge McDuck save his fortune from the Beagle Boys. After loosing the old tycoon’s money in a mysterious cave, Gyro must save the day.

The issue’s funny stories and solid art measure up to the high standards of Disney’s comics. Carl Barks provides the front and back cover.

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

7 Responses to FCBD 2008: Worst and Best of All-Ages Comics

  1. Pingback: Good Comics for Kids » Linkfest: New initiatives and new titles

  2. “Buzzboy’s (John Gallagher) fight with the Silencer seems enticing until force-feeding us five pages of anti-Comics Code Authority and anti-Christian rhetoric. It pretends to be about censorship.”

    Interesting review, and certainly one opinion. While I obviously would prefer you liked the comic KLC and Sky-Dog put out, I resepct your opinion. However, your statement regarding the story being anti-Chritian is completely unfounded, and untrue.

    There is no mention of religion whatsoever– it is anti-censorship, which to me, is neither a political, nor religious issue. I am, as always in favor or your freedom of speech, I’d just prefer your review be based on facts.

  3. Rich Burley says:

    My kids and I huge Buzzboy fans. And we picked up Sky-dog’s comic on FCBD. It was a great deal of fun!

    I want to affirm what John is saying here. There is certainly nothing anti-Christian in the comic. In fact, some of the other Buzzboy stories have, imho, some very strong Biblical imagery (such as the apple that Buzzboy produces to defeat the once heroic Lord Ultra. The apple is very much reflective of the garden of eden and the fall of human kind.
    I am a devout Christian, and I am very happy to share Buzzboy stories with my kids. 🙂

  4. Pingback: Simon & Schuster Imprint Acquires Amelia Rules! « The Sky’s the Limit

  5. Steven Roach says:

    I write a political comic series and I just stumbled across this blog thought I would say hello

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

  7. Pingback: FCBD ‘09: From Owly to Wolverine « The Sky’s the Limit

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