Last week I picked up the first Leave it to Chance collection, Shaman's Rain, from the library (alas, I have to give it back). Now that I've seen a complete story arc, I like this book even more. It still doesn't blow me away, but it's a good story that anyone -- but especially girls who like Nancy Drew -- can enjoy. Okay, there were some irritating grammatical errors (why do mistakes like this seem to be acceptable in comics when they're not in any other print medium?) (except the web, if you can call it a print medium, which it isn't really, but sort of is). Anyway, there was nothing super-spectacular about the book, except that there aren't that many really fun comics that pretty much anyone who picks it up can get something out of. (Speaking of grammar, I'm not sure that last sentence works, but you know what I mean, right?) So, while I probably won't run out to buy this title every month, it's now on my TPB-collections-to-eventually-buy list.
So, now to the rest of the comics I got free:
Free Speeches (Oni Press) Okay, so this isn't actually a comic-book, but it is a comic-book-shaped publication by a comic book publisher. Also, it was published in 1998, so obviously it isn't one of the books that came out specially for free comic book day. Still, I got it free on free comic book day, so I'm gonna babble about it here. A little. What it is is a small collection of speeches by various people regarding comic books and the US First Amendment (being Canadian, I have to stick that "US" in there) and constitutional free speech. This is important stuff. If you ever wondered how or why free speech doesn't always seem to be applied to comics (when it should, of course), then you should read this. Also, the collection includes the Comics Code Authority, and that alone makes it worth reading: "Scenes dealing with, or instruments associated with walking dead, torture, vampires and vampirism, ghouls, cannibalism, and werewolfism are prohibited." Weird stuff.
Christa Shermot's 100% Guaranteed How-to Manual For Getting ANYONE to Read Comic Books!!! (Second 2 Some Studios) I really like this book. It's really addressed to people who don't read comics, presenting arguments about why they should (which mainly run along the lines of pointing out that any genre or type of story found in prose fiction, tv or movies can also be found in comics, and done just as well or better), rather than to people who already read comics, but it was fun anyway. And now I have a document to hand to those annoying people who insist that comics are all superheroes and kiddie stuff. The only real drawback is that there is an awful lot of text, and less-patient readers may well be turned off. But I liked it enough to think seriously about tracking down the actual comic that the characters here appear in: Fade from Blue. And the art's good, too.
Jennifer Daydreamer: Oliver (Top Shelf Productions) This is a book that rather disappointed me. I'd heard lots of good things about Jennifer Daydreamer, and was very happy to see this book on the free comics table at one of the three stores I went to. That I was disappointed doesn't mean the book was bad, just that I thought it would be much better. Each "story" really doesn't hold up on its own, though I suspect they aren't meant to. By the end of the book, the whole sequence of stories have added up to a strange surreal whole that is greater than its parts, but it still wasn't as good as I was expecting. Also, the art was mostly pretty bad. That said, there was definitely something interesting going on, and I think Jennifer Daydreamer's work may prove to be worth having a look at from time to time.
Landis #0 (A-Bomb) I picked this book up because it's fantasy. From reading a lot of fantasy fiction, I know there's an awful lot of crap to wade through in order to find the good stuff, but it's worth the effort. Comics, I figure, are probably about the same. Alas, this isn't "good stuff." To be fair, it's a 0 issue, rather than part of the ongoing series, so it isn't so much a story as a here's-some-background-for-new-readers sort of thing. Even at that, it really doesn't work all that well. The art is quite uneven (and generally not all that good), and the characters really don't catch my interest (partly a fault of this being a non-story issue). Essentially, even with my soft spot for tough women wielding swords, there is nothing about this issue that makes me want to read the title.
And that's enough for now. I have to go cook some food and get back to reading Half Magic.