Free Comic Book Day & May the Fourth! Ed’s Top 10 Picks

Free Comic Book Day
May the Fourth Be With You! Hug an Ewok or Wookie! They’ll love you back.

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

For the best picks, please arrive at your local comic book store early. Each title offered is while supplies last.

Today is Free Comic Book Day and May the Fourth Be With You! It’s not every year where the several major geeky events take place. This particular one is a somber one as Peter “Chewbacca” Mayhew passed away. This gentle giant of a man will be missed. #RIP.

Fans of Star Wars should take a moment, if they have not already, to remember Mayhew, this weekend. I may need a tissue when I read the comic featuring Chewie and Solo in an all-new adventure in a galaxy far, far away. The style has me thinking it’s on par with the Resistance animated series, and that’s okay.

For this particular weekend, it’s also Wizards of the Coast‘s official War of the Spark release and Open House Weekend where card game enthusiasts can either partake in the latest set or learn how to play.

My plan is to enjoy a bit of everything. The morning will be picking up the comics, the afternoon will be a few rounds of the card game (drafting the set or playing with free packs; I haven’t decided yet) and the evening plan is a viewing of the definitive fan-edit of Empire Strikes Back a good friend says he has.

In no particular order, my picks are:


(W) Jeff Lemire, Ray Fawkes, Jody Houser
(A) David Rubin, Ibrahim Moustafa (CA) Chun Lo

Tales from two diverse worlds!

In Stranger Things, Eleven and the Demogorgon have disappeared from Hawkins, IN. Steve and Nancy try to cheer Mike up, encouraging him to get the adventuring party back together again.

Then, in the world of the Eisner Award-winning Black Hammer series, Madame Dragonfly takes the reader on an EC-style tour through her mysterious Cabin of Horrors to witness two groups of brand-new Black Hammer heroes from the past!

May the Fourth Be Coming to Free Comic Book Day

Free Comic Book DayBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Free Comic Book Day is coming, and it’s happening after May the Fourth. Star Wars fans can rejoice as a tale featuring Han Solo is offered. Bounty Hunters Zuckuss and 4-LOM have found these smugglers for hire, and just what happens will require stopping by a comic shop so I can find out! The brief synopsis offered online does not say much, but it’s enough to get me curious.

Fans who are unaware of this saga’s long history in this medium can also talk to the staff of their local comic book store in what else to look at, or pick up. I followed the run back when they started at Marvel. Dark Horse continued the love a decade later with a terrific Dark Empire saga (and much more), but these days they are back with Marvel. Other chapters include a Star Wars: Rebels tie-in with Kanan. I miss this computer-animated series and honestly, the poster tease for the new Resistance looks too bright and colorful. With IDW on board to publish tales from the Forces of Destiny line, no shortage is planned as long as Lucasfilm/Disney is involved! Just how well received it will be depends on the story direction.

At least there are other franchises to consider on Free Comic Book Day. Teasers to Overwatch, Riverdale, Street Fighter and Transformers are just a sample of what people can find at their local comic book store.

These works are usually one-offs. Some have even become collectibles because of the extra work put behind releasing them. Gold Comics are titles which the publishers put a touch more work behind to release “free,” and those Mouse Guards I have from previous years will forever be treasured.

The following are my top ten picks of what must be considered. They are not necessarily collectible, but as a primer for what’s planned by the big publishers, to start here is a must!

Continue reading “May the Fourth Be Coming to Free Comic Book Day”

Tales From an Early Rider … er Reader of Dark Horse Comics in Salute to Dark Horse Day


By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

In my days as a fervent comic book reader, I think I bought more Dark Horse Comics than Marvel or DC combined. Nothing against the big two from out East, but this company based in the Dogwood City of the West in the Beaver State released a lot of translated manga, movie-tie in material and unique titles that I definitely gnawed at! Two of the earliest works I enjoyed reading were Aliens and Predator. Of the two, I got my very first issue signed by the artist Chris Warner when he visited my home city of Victoria, BC in a special book tour. A few decades later, I managed to get my Aliens portfolio (my original comics were buried too deep in storage to pull out in time for Emerald City Comicon a few years ago) autographed by Mark A. Nelson .

This publisher is celebrating the big three-o this year, and their big day is being celebrated worldwide on June 3rd. Appropriately enough, they have a release to give out for free which includes an Aliens versus Predator story. This comic book recalls 30 years of their best-selling titles. I’m very curious in which stories get reprinted, but there will be new material too. The worlds represented are Sin City, Umbrella Academy and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Best of all, the distribution of this comic is not limited to North America; it’s international! Comic stores from around the world will be offering swag which includes mini-posters, window clings and postcards. Please check with your local comic book retailer if they are participating; the list is huge.

Continue reading “Tales From an Early Rider … er Reader of Dark Horse Comics in Salute to Dark Horse Day”

Details on Dark Horse Comic’s All Ages FCBD Sampler for Readers who Missed It


By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

It’s hard to believe two weeks have passed since Free Comic Book Day. I read everything I obtained, and in what I’ve reread several times is in what Dark Horse Comics has planned for continuing the saga in Legend of Korra and How to Train Your Dragon. The further misadventures of Plants vs Zombies is offered too.

No street dates have officially been announced for either yet, but I’m suspecting it should arrive late Summer. Since not everyone may have picked up this sampler, I thought I should offer a detailed look at what was missed.

The teaser offered in Korra is a prelude to the events from the series. Here, readers learn how Korra met her pet and protector, Naga. This tale is very heartwarming and adorable. Many years are not told to show their mutual growth before the episode, “Welcome to Republic City” takes place. If there’s ever a chance to show a cute side to these characters, I hope further misadventures of young Korra will be included in the upcoming comic book release.

This tale is penned by Michael Dante DiMartino, co-creator of the animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra. Die-hard fans will be familiar with his work in the graphic novel continuation of The Last Airbender. He receives full credit in the script in this tale. The youthful exuberance can be felt in this short story, and I hope he will be directly involved in the coming series this comic book company is producing. Heather Campbell illustrated and Vivian Ng coloured this tale, and reading this comic was like watching the animation all over again.

Continue reading “Details on Dark Horse Comic’s All Ages FCBD Sampler for Readers who Missed It”

A Run to Downtown Victoria for Free Comic Book Day! So Where’s Cthulhu?

FCBD16-15yrsFree Comic Book Day is an annual ritual event for me to attend. With it operating for 15 years, that’s an impressive milestone to promote literacy and a love for the medium. Without it, I would not have discovered some great wonderous pieces of work like Jim Henson’s Labyrinth and David Petersen’s Mouse Guard. Although these stories are relegated to a single book edition of Boom! Studios Summer Blast, should I be disappointed?

When each comic store I hit limits the number of books I’m allowed to grab, I had to choose wisely. Although an original story was offered, sadly (and I hope to find it as leftovers when I head to town the next day) it had to be missed. The previous years were great when there was an issue dedicated to Mouse Guard. One of the reasons why I’m attracted to this series is the gorgeous art! Plus, the creator is a regular at Emerald City Comicon!

STK699198-600x837I was eager for this year’s event and did not even sleep since I wanted to grab Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom before this title disappeared. I’m eagerly waiting for Shout! Factory to release the animated movie. The comic book has been out for some time, but I somehow missed hearing about it.

When the stores here in Victoria, BC do not carry every title available, it’s easy to miss the odd gem. While I try to scan Diamond Press’ Previews advance order catalogue for the titles that I find exciting, just how I missed this title is still a mystery. I was busy in my final year in college at the time, so that may be the reason. Or, perhaps the stars were not right.

I arrived at Curious Comics, Legends Comics & Books and Yellowjacket Comics & Toys a few minutes before they opened and had my face pasted against the window to peer at what titles were brought in. I figured out what titles I wanted to grab the most. As I left one store, I saw Captain America (from Superheroes of Victoria) just standing around, in front of the Curious, posing for kids and adults who wanted a photo. To see him appear is to no doubt make folks aware that the movie, Captain America: Civil War, is here. With the Greater Victoria Public Library also joining in the fun a few blocks away (only the central branch participates), up to sixteen books can be obtained.

With 50 comics to choose from, the decision-making can be tough. The stores here bring in at least two-thirds of the entire run (by my count). A few titles might be harder to obtain. Of course, the selection depends on how much money the establishments are willing to spend to bring these free products in.


In what I grabbed this year was the Dark Horse sampler, which included Legend of Korra. I’m guessing they will be presenting all new stories in this latest chapter of the Last Avatar series very soon. With this book containing this company’s take on expanding the How to Train Your Dragon series, I was more than hopping with excitement! Other titles that caught my eye were DC Super Hero Girls, Lady Mechanika, The Phantom 80th Anniversary, ROM the Spaceknight and The Tick. I could have filled my quota, and I’m not greedy.

Unlike certain sampler comics, not everything is meant to be collectable. On eBay, which is a rough gauge on collectability, I’ve noticed a few titles since this programme’s inception supposedly grow in value. However, I think the idea of getting titles that are free to sell online is ridiculous. On eBay, a few folks are capitalising on offering complete sets at a cost! In a hobby such as this one, I’m just in it to enjoy reading and forget about profiteering. You can’t buy a new car with the selling of modern titles. The scarcer golden age comics (published 1959 or before), however, is a different matter.

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