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Free Comic Book Day 2007 Comic Selections

There is a little bit of everything being offered for this year's Free Comic Book Day – there is something for everyone. I have tried to break down al lot of what is out there into categories to help you make your FCBD choices. Teachers: Your opinions of what is “classroom safe” may be different from mine, so be sure to check it out before giving it to your class.


All Ages Material

Owly: Helping Hands - by Andy Runton - published by Top Shelf - Classroom Safe

Back again for a third straight year, Andy Runton introduces new characters and new lessons for Owly and his friends to learn. “Springtime has arrived, and Owly must use his past to help a new friend face her fears.” (topshelf.com) Like always, there are no words to read in this Owly, but there is a lot read in other ways. Runton uses visual language - symbols and pictures instead of words to convey all communication. Facial expression, pictures and exclamation / question marks tell the reader everything they need to know.

Also in this issue is a back-up story called Korgi: Sprout's Lost Cookie which, according to topshelf.com “will give readers their first glimpse of this gorgeously illustrated woodland fantasy about a young girl Ivy, her dog Sprout, and their amazing adventures in Korgi Hollow.”

Lesson Plan Ideas: Language Arts

--------1. Have students use visual language symbols to create a message for the class. Have them posted around the room for the students to “read” and figure out. At the end of the day, or week, have the students come together and discuss what the messages were about.

--------2. Just like last year: Use it as a story starter. After you have gone over it with your students, make up an Owly adventure for your students to write about (How Owly and Wormy became friends; Owly and Wormy get lost, etc) You can use this writing template and contact Andy through andyrunton.com if you want to send him your student's stories.


Amelia Rules!: Hangin' Out—FCBD EDITION by Jimmy Gownley - Classroom Safe

Hot on the heals of it's successful graphic novel launch, Amelia Rules! returns for Free Comic Book Day! Amelia Rules!: Hangin' Out contains a brand-new story featuring all the trademark Amelia wit and wistfulness. This Multiple Eisner-nominee is the perfect title to introduce kids of all ages to comic books. Also featured in his issue is a full-color preview of Renaissance Press's upcoming title Apathy Kat."

I haven't read it yet, but Amelia Rules! is funny, smart and funny and always classroom safe. Also deals with real-life issues, such as divorce, in an intelligent way.


THE COMPLETE PEANUTS by Charles Schultz - published by Fantagraphics

Classroom Safe

From Fantagraphics.com
Despite its seemingly ubiquitous status, hundreds and hundreds of PEANUTS strips, after their initial appearance in the daily or Sunday papers, have never been reprinted. Fantagraphics Books THE COMPLETE PEANUTS has been rectifying this, and THE UNSEEN PEANUTS is a special collection of over 100 of these rare strips. Fantagraphics will be presenting some of the most amusing and interesting "lost" strips that were "saved" by the first seven volumes of the COMPLETE PEANUTS (Vol. 7, although not released, will be out by the time THE UNSEEN PEANUTS is distributed), and in addition will also be previewing "lost" strips from the upcoming eighth book -- strips that have NEVER appeared anywhere else since being originally published in daily newspapers four decades ago!

Couldn't have said it better myself. This issue has something for everyone. It is crammed full of Peanuty goodness and there is plenty of text for older readers that want to learn more about these classic and forgotten strips.

Lesson Ideas:

Art: Comparing the style of the older strips to the more common Peanuts style that is still shown in newspapers today.

Social Studies / Language Arts: Put students in groups to answer questions on stereotyping, ageism, the changes in society since the 50's-60's, etc.
Give each pair a different question to report on. Possible questions are:

  1. What is more common, boy or girl characters?
  2. What are the rolls the boys and girls play in the strip? Do they fit the stereotype of the time, or are the rolls more even (thinking of how Lucy dominates and also seems to be the only one to hold a “job” – psychiatrist)
  3. How many strips feature characters from different ethnic groups.
  4. How many strips feature teasing or bullying.

The idea for this activity and some of the questions from In Graphic Detail b y David Booth & Kathleen Gould Lundy.


I haven't read the two books from Archie Comics, but their quality is consistent, and you know it will be suitable for any age. Classroom Safe

" Legend of the Lost Lagoon."
Little Archie, several campers and two counselors are boating on Loon Lake when they are suddenly caught in a dangerous storm. A golden owl, thought only to be a legend, directs them to the safety of a hidden tunnel that leads them to yet another legend, The Lost Lagoon.
STORY, ART and COVER: Bob Bolling.
32-page, full color comic

"Unburying the Hatchet"
What could be better than Dr. Eggman's killer robot, Metal Sonic? How about the real thing! What has turned Sonic against his friends in Knothole, and who among our heroes has to power to stop the true blue hero-gone-bad?
SCRIPT: Ian Flynn ART: Tracy Yardley! (pencils) and Jim Amash (inks).
Fiercely free cover by Spaz!
32-page, full color comic


Marvel Comics is putting out two comics full of brand new material. The Marvel Adventures book is aimed directly at younger readers (one scary spider monster for the little ones that scare easily) - classroom safe. Although it has "All Ages" on its cover, the Spider-Man issue is for a bit older. Not much that bothers me as a parent (one person says "You Suck!") but I won't be putting it in my classroom. Preview of the Spider-Man story HERE



TRANSFORMERs: THE movie prequel

Boys love giant robots shooting lasers at each other, so this issue should be a hit. It is a bit wordy and busy for really young readers and might be better for mid-elementary students and up.




Good For Middle School and High School


Lynda Barry Extravaganza— FCBD EDITION Drawn and Quarterly

What an odd and amazing book. This is suitable for classrooms, and would be perfect for grade 7-8 and up. The whole book is a writing workshop. More of a journal or general writing workshop more than a comic workshop. Each page gives a 30 minute writing assignment (exactly 30 minutes – you have to set a timer). Ask for as many as you can for your class. NOTE: On the “Remembering and Forgetting” page, there is dialogue that reads : “I was such an ass to have said that to him.”


How To Draw by Wizard

Get this one for your kids if they like to draw. Get this for your art class. Read it yourself first.

Sorry, but there is a LOT of text in this one and I haven't gotten through it all to check for content, but it is a completely free comic art tutorial by some industry greats (Joe Kubert!). I am impressed by how much ground this little comic was able to cover. I am pretty sure this would also be fine for younger kids interested in this kind of thing, but you should check it out first

Impact University

I was not able to get an advanced copy of this, but it is always a good book. Lots of tips on how to draw different styles. Check it out for inappropriate content – Some pretty scary looking monsters on the cover - so not likely for younger kids.

COMICS 101: How-To & History Lessons From The Pros—FCBD EDITION

As the industry authority on comics history and creation, TwoMorrows has tapped the combined knowledge of its editors to assemble an all-new 32-page comics primer, created just for Free Comic Book Day! You'll learn: “Figure Drawing” and “How To Break Down A Story” from Draw! Magazine's Mike Manley and Bret Blevins; “Writing Tips” from Write Now! Magazine's Danny Fingeroth; Rough Stuff Magazine editor Bob McLeod provides “Art Critiques” of promising newcomers; and there's even a “Comics History Crash-Course”.

I didn't get a chance to read this one, but it sounds really interesting - lots of tips for young artists/writers.

Great All Ages Content, but the whole book is not intended for younger readers - check it out and you may find something for your kids


Arcana Studio Presents three all-new stories featuring the gothic demon hunter Kade , the sci-fi sensation, 100 Girls , and the all-ages fairy tale Clockwork Girl ! Always striving for the best, this year's Arcana Studio Presents will feature a flip cover by interior artists Stjepan ( Kade , Witchblade ) Sejic and Todd ( 100 Girls , Star Wars ) Demong. 32 pages of pulse pounding action and adventure await inside this high quality book... as well a sneak peak of the upcoming titles that Arcana will be producing in the not-too-distant future!

Clockwork Girl is the all ages part of the book. I know that they are very excited about this one over at Arcana. I have only seen a couple of pages, and it looks great.


Nowadays getting something for nothing is harder than ever, but apparently Viper Comics doesn't believe so! Enjoy a sneak-peak of upcoming Viper hits in their Free Comic Book Day exclusive, including Josh Howard Presents: Sasquatch , The Underworld Railroad , Oddly Normal Vol. 2 , Karma Inc. Vol. 2 , The Middleman Vol. 3 , and future excerpts of the Dead@17 ongoing series… all for the low price of NOTHING, ZILCH, NADA.

Oddly Normal Vol. 2 is a terrific book. I look forward to the preview and the book. The other stories in the book are not for younger readers.

Stuff you and your teenagers might like, but not for your kids (although, not so bad that you have to hide them away so your kids don't accidentally see them)

Comics Festival by various

This is essentially a beautiful 32 page advertisement for Canadian comic talent and the Toronto Comics Art Festival. I have gotten this before on FCBD and been disappointed. That is not the case this time. The stories are good, the are tis amazing and there is a little something for every taste: comic strips, beautifully done short stories and a poem or two. This is one of my favourite books this year and it is done by Canadians – so a plus for me. Anything with this much Darwyn Cooke art is a good thing. It shows lots of art styles, so it might be good for a high school art class.



The Umbrella Academy published by Dark Horse.

Dark Horse has gone away from putting out a Star Wars FCBD issue and is going with three short stories as an introduction to three of their new comics coming out soon. The stories were pretty good, and the cover is stunning (by artist James Jean), but too much for the little ones – more for teens an up.




The Train Was Bang On Time by Eddie Campbell – published by First Second Books

Train Bombing strikes terror in the Heartland!

John Hardin is a desperate man. He is the sole suspect of the renowned Black Diamond Detective Agency, a private operation determined to solve the mystery and bring its perpetrators to justice—at any cost. Once a quiet Missouri corn farmer, Hardin now finds himself on the run in turn-of-the-century Chicago .

Adapted from a Wonderland Films screenplay and graced with vivid and striking art by Eddie Campbell , this tale delves deep into the American era when small farmers were the backbone of the country, graft was rampant, and railroads unfurled through western towns.

I really like this comic. It is an "episode" from a larger work out now - The Black Diamond Detective Agency. The art and writing make me want to read more.

Love and Capes by Maerkle Press

I wasn't sure about this one at first. I had never heard of it and it looked like something I had seen before. But, I liked it. It shows the non-crime fighting side to a “Superman” type character. The cover blurb calls it: “The heroically super situation comedy comic book! Couldn't say it better myself. It is mostly fine for kids (check out the last story page for a bit of sexual innuendo – fairly tame, but your call), but I think it would be a bit wordy for them. Not for the classroom though.





WHITEOUT #1 by Greg Rucka & Steve Lieber - Oni Press

Oni Press and the Eisner-winning team of Greg Rucka and Steve Lieber are pleased to offer the first issue of one of the most critically acclaimed indy comics series of the last decade! U.S. Marshal Carrie Stetko is the lawwoman charged with maintaining order in the snowy wasteland of Antarctica, but when someone commits murder on "The Ice," will Carrie be able to find the culprit?

Soon to be a big movie - will star Kate Beckinsale.



The Astounding Wolf-Man by Image Comics

The lead story has a werewolf and lots of blood (that poor bunny) and the other stories there's lots of guns and stuff like that. Your teen would probably like it, but not intended for your younger ones.



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