Free Comic Book Day: Mighty Heroes, Politicized Robots, and Boring Hookers

I have to admit that Free Comic Book Day kind of slipped my mind this time around and so I didn’t really have a plan as in previous years. New York City being New York City has quite a lot of festivities dedicated to the day, but instead of that I participated in a much purer essence and went to my most local comic book store in Brooklyn.

There was a three comic per person limit so it took a while to decide what to take a chance on. That also means we all strategically plotted out who would get what so as to have the biggest spread of stories to read. And in the spirit of the day I also bought some comic trades.

Free Comic Book Day’s main goal is to help entice new comic readers while at the same time giving current comic fans a sample of titles they might have otherwise ignored. It is also a good way of helping people back into comics if they have been away from the hobby for a while. For me it is usually an interesting, all be it limited, look at what is going on in the American comic industry. It is a regular smorgasbord of mainstream and independent comics. Theoretically everyone is putting their best foot forward in an effort to attract new readers so it is a good time to see what everyone is offering for the year. Sometimes comic publishers will have their B-teams work on the material for Free Comic Book Day but there is nothing I can do about that. I can only judge the comics on what I see. So any over positive or negative receptions might be merely based on the small sample I got here. But like so many other people this is often the most critical impression publishers can give me so I make judgements without reservation.

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Ongoing Investigations: Case #135

The BEST series of the year is shaping up to be Mawaru Penguindrum. So far in the first 6 episodes Kunihiko Ikuhara has proven that Utena was not a fluke. The show has stayed as consistently excellent as the first episode and I look forward to a new episode every week. The animation, imagery, and direction remain high quality and imaginative every week. The Rose of Versailles style fantasy imaginary in episode 4 is just scrumptious. Also the laser guided slingshot is both goofy and bass ass at the same time. The plot remains mysterious but we are always getting enough information that we never feel that the show is spinning its wheels. I get the feeling that Ikuhara is more of an “I got this all planned out” sort of guy so it is more a matter of seeing the tale unfold then see him make it up as he goes along.  Kanba and Shoma’s antics in trying to find the Penguindrum are always amusing but retain a creepy vibe without either feeling hurting the other. That said I need to know what is going on with Kanba’s ultra shady deals. Ringo has that same mixture of very funny and very disturbing. I am curious how popular she is among the American and Japanese fans. Narutaki seems to think she would be insanely popular. I cannot disagree. And I know there is more to Himari than meets the eye. She is too innocent for a Ikuhara anime. There has to be more going to with her than you see on the surface. If you don’t have a moral objection to watching fan-subs then you need to watch Mawaru Penguindrum. Otherwise you should get this the second it gets licensed. Because it will get licensed. Fabulous Max!

The most anticipated arc in recent Detective Conan anime TV series was the London case, the 11th OVA happens concurrently featuring Ai and the detective boys back in Japan. It starts as just a cute mystery involving peanutbutter and jelly, a mistaken starlet, and kick the can. But the kids discover kidnappers in an abandoned building and things turn more dangerous when they themselves become trapped. The real treat for this OVA is seeing Ai’s smarts at the forefront since Conan is a world away. Her use of the cellphones as well as the detective boys badges is nicely done. It combines the kid antics at the beginning and a more tense situation later well. The ending has a couple of surprises in store, though nothing too earth shaking. A fun and nice OVA if not remarkable.

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