That’s right kids, it’s that time of year again! May 5th or as it’s known in some circles Free Mutha Effin Comic Book Day! To help celebrate Archaia Entertainment is doing something special. In a never before heard of act of generosity, select comic book stores will be giving away an Archaia hard cover book featuring six short stories from their popular titles.
THE TALE OF BALDWIN THE BRAVE written and illustrated by David Peterson. David Peterson’s Mouse Guard series is probably one of the best comic books I’ve ever read and this latest installment is no different. Told through a puppet show, it chronicles the life of Baldwin The Brave a humble farmer mouse who rose to great heights among his peers through compassion and ingenuity. The beautiful thing about David’s work is that they are simple, but filled with morality tales. These are the types of comics that if I had children, I’d want them to read. His artwork is also very whimsy friendly. I couldn’t imagine anyone else, but David doing the illustration for this book. This person man autonomy quite frankly is why I believe the story is so successful. I feel the soul of this writer when I read his stories and drool over his art. I had the pleasure of meeting David at Comic Con last year and the guys personality is just a nice as his books. Please pick up his series.
HOGGLE AND THE WORM written by Ted Naifeh and Adrianne Ambrose, illustrated by Cory Godbey. Jim Henson’s world comes to life in this spin off story based on the 1986 film Labryinth starring David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly. Here we find Hoggle “That’s HOGGLE!” in one of his many depressions. This one is about attracting a woman he’s had his eye on. That lovable neon worm from the film tries to help him with advise that could only benefit a worm, but could prove fatal to anyone else. The story is cute and is consistent with the Labryinth vernacular. The art is dreamy and has that pencil-like fluidity that’s important in keeping fantasy real. This is one of many titles that Archaia has been given rights to by the Jim Henson Company and so far they haven’t disappointed. Fraggle Rock , The Dark Crystal, The Story Teller and the award winning Tale Of Sand are also wonderful reads. Guys it’s Jim Henson! Now jump! Magic Jump!!
Steps Of The Dapper Men written by Jim McCann and illustrated by Janet K. Lee this short is based on the steampunk style story Return Of The Dapper Men and takes it’s clue from dreams. I was fortunate enough to get a chance to read one other ROTDM book in another Archaia giveaway and I was thoroughly intrigued. The story does not…I repeat does not give a lot away as far as backstory goes, but dreams are funny like that and the writer and illustrator do a wonderful job of conveying just that. RETURN OF THE DAPPER MEN is a tale of a world in between time, where children have played so long it’s almost become work, machines have worked so long they have begun to play, and all the clocks have stopped at the same time. This is how this land has remained, until 314 dapper-looking gentlemen rain down from the sky and set off in different directions to start the world again. Now Ayden, the only boy to still ask questions; Zoe, the robot girl all other machines hold dear; and the Dapper Man known only as “41″ must discover what happened that made time stop, understand what their true places are in this world, and learn what “tomorrow” really means.
RUST created by Royden Lepp is a high-octane adventure set in the prairie lands of an unknown time. Life on the Taylor family farm was difficult enough before Jet Jones crashes into the barn, chased by a giant decommissioned war robot! Oldest son Roman Taylor struggles to keep his family’s small farm afloat as the area heals from a devastating world war. While the rest of his family may not trust the mysterious boy with the jetpack, Roman believes the secrets of Jet’s past may be the key to their survival. Rust is true Americana in it’s baby rocketeer angle. This particular story starts off with a little boys letter to his brother who’s fighting in the war. He proceeds to let him in on the goings on at the farm and how displeased he is with the current events in particular his dislike for “Jet” an unknown boy who crashed through the roof of their barn one day. All this adds to the frustration of living during war time in America. Another one man machine,Royden keeps it minimal in this short, but he wields the strangers anonymity like a pro beckoning the reader to keep going. I love the sepia illustrations and how it brings the mid west to life. The story is deeply rooted in the pulp of such classics like The Shadow, The Rocketeer and Brenda Starr. Definitely an intriguing read.
CURSED PIRATE GIRL written by Jeremy A Bastian Adventures on and under the high seas lead a cursed pirate girl to encounter mythic creatures, gnarled and crusty pirates, and ghostly apparitions as she tries to find her lost father, one of the dreaded Pirate Captains of the mythical Omerta Seas. A whimsical swashbuckling tale of wonderland journeys and unimaginable dangers, starting in Port Elisabeth, Jamaica in the year 1728, and quickly heading across – and beneath – the waves. The first three issues are collected with an all-new epilogue. You had me at “call me ALICE!!” right away this short lends itself to the absurd and the fantastic, as this crotchety old man tells tall tales to his grand children. The stories are of some of the most savage pirates on the seven seas some of which are too fantastical to be real, but nonetheless thrilling to read. I love the artwork in this piece. It’s done in a “drunken pirate scribbled this on the wall of the pub on day” aesthetic. The characters aren’t pretty, but they don’t have to be for something this raw and fantastic. Consider this my endorsement.
COWBOY written by Nate Cosby and Chris Eliopoulos the story of a youngbounty hunter determined to send his entire outlaw family to jail. He travels the Old West on a horse that ain’t his, and won’t stop til every one’a his kin’s in the clink. Looking like a mean Calvin from Calvin and Hobbs, Cowboy let’s you know right away that breaking the law isn’t tolerated round these parts. This short is very very entertaining not only because of the cute art work, but here’s this kid dishing out justice like he’s Wyatt Earp himself. If your a fan of western revenge tales you will love cowboy cause this kids gotta lot of sass. Pay particular attention to how the little guy calls out a teacher in the front of her class. Love this kid!