Let's be honest, Free Comic Book Day is essentially seen by publishers as a promotional tool. It's a chance to get their product seen by a lot of people who would not normaly look at it.
Which is fine. I heartily approve of enlightened self-interest. Everyone wins.
Anyhow, so most of the stuff that I came home with last Saturday was samples intended to persuade me to read comics I didn't know. Now if I was head honcho of a comic publisher I'd ensure that my sample comic contained the best stuff I could find that would engage the interest of anyone who read it and bring them back for more. Judging by some of the comics in my pile either I am out of step with current strategy, or the rest of the stuff they publish must be real dreck.
Case in point being Arcana Studio Presents; a sampler of scenes from three ongoing titles. Kade had some interesting painted technique but looked just like a zillion other fantasy comics and I haven't worked up the energy to read it yet. Big muscley hero fights firey demon. Gag me with a spoon.
Second up was Ezra, generic fantasy heroine whose most interesting aspect is her inability to ever stop talking, regardless of whether her audience is composed of thugs, woodland creatures, or nobody at all. She tells the thugs her life story inbetween beating them up. She tells a racoon much of the same story a page later. She chats for a page to an empty woodland. I'm almost tempted to pick up this comic to find out whether this is a deliberate character trait or just terrible writing.
Finally we have 100 Girls. I have no idea what 100 Girls is about but I don't think this sample was much of a help as it was entirely about a bad man who stumbles around in some wreckage and then dies. There was some mention of a girl with super powers but since she only appears for one panel in flashback, I have no clue whether she is any more important to the comic this is supposed to be encouraging me to buy than the bad dead man.
Marvel kind of did okay. I don't know whether the Runaways/X-Men 11 pager is a reprint or unique to this comic, but it is a nice self-contained little story that I liked a lot. On the strength of this I could well be persuaded to give Runaways a try. The rest of the comic wasn't so hot. A Franklin Richards story that didn't really do anything for me, what appeared to be half a random fight scene from an Avengers variation I wasn't familiar with, and a lengthy text synopsis of Ultimate Spider-Man that made it sound so hideously convoluted that it put me off ever looking at it. Personally I'm holding out for Penultimate Spider-Man.
As for DC... On the plus side I really like the Justice League Unlimited comic. On the minus side I fail to comprehend the logic of promoting this comic when it's just been cancelled.
Archie Comics were one of the few to produce something entirely original, and although it would be easy to pick holes in the quality of this offering, it's more fun to experience it through Scipio's eyes.
More to come...