There is something amazing about getting a comic book for free. It’s as if you are a coconspirator in finding new worlds. Free comic book day may be over for this year, but what that single moment in time does is help you discover writers and experiences you would not think of venturing into.
Drawn and Quarterly Comics
Guy Delisle’s “Hostage” is the telling of Christophe Andre’s time as a hostage in Chechnya. Excerpted from the graphic novel of the same name tells in a few pages the myriad of emotions Andre went through. You are with him in that room with a single dim light bulb with no idea of what day it is. Worse yet, you don’t know why you were taken or if you would ever be rescued. All of this is taking place within a few pages. Still each bluish-grey panel is captivating. You hold your breath every time a sound is made on a panel. Will they feed him or shoot him. This free look at “Hostage” does its job as it makes you feel compelled to read more.
In this same comic is a preview of “Poppies in Iraq,” a memoir from Brigitte Findakly about her childhood in Iraq and her family’s move to France. It’s told from both the perspective of the present mingling with the past as an adult Brigitte is looking back on her childhood. With artwork by cartoonist Lewis Trondheim there’s an accessibility to this excerpt that invites you to read it with your children. As Findakly narrates her early life, the artistic style helps the reader to understand the danger even if the child in Brigitte does not. You’ll be turning the pages looking for the rest of the narrative but you’ll have to wait until September for the complete picture.
Writer Alejandro Jodorowsky puts you on a serious mind trip in “The Incal.” A fifth rate detective is caught up in a situation that from the beginning is completely out of his control. Reminiscent of films like Blade Runner or the Omega Man Jodorowsky’s protagonist John DiFool is being chased, beaten up and nearly killed several times over and this is only a sneak peek of a larger body of work. With artwork by Moebius et al you wish they would have been able to successfully pull off their version of Frank Herbert’s Dune. The feel of this comic makes you think it would also serve well on the big screen. Still, as a comic you just want to know if DiFool is going to survive and what exactly is the incal supposed to mean to this universe.
X-O Manowar is going through a lot in his current series. On a planet and taken to fight in a war he neither knows nor cares about, Aric of Dacia has had to become the warrior once again. But this preview shows what happens to Aric before has to retrieve his sentient armor once again. He’s a man who hates bullies and single-handedly eradicates the town bully. The set up looks like an old western town, but it might as well be anyplace. There’s something about Aric that seems to attract people who need to be put down.
Within this free comic book is a sneak peek of “Secret Weapons.” Toyo Harada, the most powerful psiot in the Valiant universe is one true bastard. Before his plans were revealed to the world he gathered potential psiots to see if their powers could serve him. When saw that it their abilities were, to him unusable (one girl has the ability to talk to birds) he classified them as rejects and they were warehoused. As a result of the Harbingers releasing all Harada’s business out into the street now these psiots are being hunted. It’s up to Livewire (former protégé of Harada) to help. As interesting as a character Livewire should not be the Mrs. Garrett of Valiant comics. If she is going to be featured in a monthly comic, then she should be the focus. It will interesting to see what writer Eric Heisserer will do with her.
The last preview is of Bloodshot. As a man Ray Garrison has been through mind control, being killed (several times over) and finding, losing, then finding the love of his life. In the last issue of his ongoing series Ray was finally at a peaceful place. In “Bloodshot Salvation” the memories of Ray has been far flung to 4001 AD. Of course there are major gaps missing. This is the true story of Bloodshot’s life, always having to fill in the blanks. This time a child is involved and the current Bloodshot doesn’t know if she is a curse or a savior. Either way it’s a great jumping off point without having to rewrite a solid character’s history.