My father always told that there is no such thing as a free lunch, and for the most part, the credo has proved true.
But he never said anything about comic books.
For seven years, the comic book industry has dubbed the first Saturday in May Free Comic Book Day. Part corporate marketing scheme and part party for every self-avowed geek with a buxom heroine tacked to his bedroom wall, Free Comic Book Day promises at least one freebie to anyone who walks into a participating comic book store.
Outlets include Augusta Book Exchange branches at 1650 Gordon Highway and 592 Bobby Jones Expressway and Comic World at 35202 3rd Ave on Fort Gordon. This year, more than 40 separate titles are being handed out, and while I wasn't able to get a hold of every book up for grabs, the kind folks at the Augusta Book Exchange did hook me up with a few. Here's a sampling.
ATOMIC ROBO: Set during the Cold War, Atomic stars a self-aware robot/secret agent who does the American government's dirty work. It's a great concept heavy on action sequences. The Free Comic issue also includes a short NeoZoic story, set in an alternate universe where dinosaurs never died out.
BROKEN TRINITY: A prelude to a series set to hit shelves this summer, this title sets up a story featuring the characters The Darkness, Angelus and Witchblade. This one is a bit confusing for readers unfamiliar with what seems to be a fairly complicated mythology.
IRON MAN & HULK & SPIDER-MAN: A stand-alone story featuring three Marvel favorites, there is a sense of nostalgia in this issue. A pure superhero adventure, it's unabashedly focused on reminding readers why these characters have become staples of popular culture.
It's probably no coincidence that movies based on two of the three characters are scheduled for summer release.
HELLBOY: A cult favorite, the Free Comic issue contains three stories. Again, it's probably no coincidence that there's a Hellboy movie coming out this summer.
SUPERMAN: The first in a new series of Superman books, this issue features a new look for the Man of Steel and a couple of surprises. It also seems appropriate that one of the most iconic of comic characters makes an appearance at Free Comic Book Day. Batman clearly had a date he couldn't get out of.
ARCHIE'S PAL JUGHEAD: A shameless plug both for Archie titles and Geppi's Entertainment Museum in Baltimore, this issue finds Archie and Jughead taking a job as night watchmen in the museum. Hilarity ensues.
There's comfort in finding these familiar characters in familiar situations, so much that the shameless plugging is easily forgiven.
Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or firstname.lastname@example.org.