There are 50 titles this year for Free Comic Book Day. You can’t get them all. (Well you can, but you probably shouldn’t.) Here are six books that should be the first things you grab on Saturday.
All-New Guardians of the Galaxy
This book reunites Star Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket and Groot just in time for their new movie! The book has been “rebooted” to create a perfect place for new readers to jump on. Writer Gary Duggan has been doing solid work on Deadpool for the past few years, and should be able to keep the humor level high.
Plus, the backup feature is a sneak peek at The Defenders. The team has been defunct in the comics for years, but Marvel is looking to mirror their Netflix offering in the comics, so the new team will be Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist. The book is being written by Jessica Jones creator Brian Michael Bendis who has a gift for these characters.
John Allison’s coming-of-age drama Bad Machinery does a brilliant job of portraying the angst and conflict that defines the “tween” years without making the characters whiney or unlikeable. Allison uses the framework of boy/girl detective stories to flash out his characters, but his ability to create likeable, relatable protagonists is what makes this a must-have for all but the youngest readers.
Betty & Veronica
It still feels a little strange to say it, but Archie Comics is putting out some of the most interesting and innovative titles on the shelves. The new books have attracted “A-List” talent, and Betty & Veronica is no exception. Legendary artist Adam Hughes provides both art and writing for this book, which reprints Betty & Veronica #1.
With an elevated art style, a more modern setting and more realistic characters, Betty & Veronica proves that you don’t need super-heroics or wacky animals to tell an engrossing story in the medium of comics.
Buffy: The High-School Years
Buffy the Vampire Slayer is one of the most important pop-feminist icons of the past 20 years. But the show is 20 now years old. There is an entire generation that is unfamiliar with the exploits of the slayer. There has been a Buffy comic that continues the narrative of the television show ever since it ended, but Buffy: The Teenage Years resets the clock and shows us a 16-year-old Buffy, still in high-school and still learning the ropes.
The result is an all-ages comic that is accessible to kids who are new to the Buffy-verse. It’s written by Paul Tobin (Bandette) and Kel McDonald (Misfits of Avalon), two writers who have proven adept at writing teenage girls as heroes.
Luke Pearson’s Hilda is one of the best children’s books on the market. It’s is award-winning and consistently delightful. Comic book fans may be unaware of the title, because it has found its success via trade paperbacks for sale at bookstores and available in libraries. This Free Comic Book Day issue is a great way to get acquainted with a series that you might have missed.
The Free Comic Book Day issue of Wonder Woman reprints Wonder Woman #2 from the current run. Greg Rucka, one of the definitive writers of Diana, retells her origin story — keeping all of the essential elements that make Wonder Woman a beloved icon — but still managing to make he story feel as if you had never heard it before. With art contributed by the superlative Nicola Scott, this is a book that everyone should be putting in their bag come Free Comic Book Day.