New Comic Book Day: Free Oni Comics for National Library Week

Oni Press

Happy National Library Week! You guys remember the Valiant giveaway back in January, when we talked about how important libraries are in spreading the comics addiction? Our libraries are incredibly valuable cultural institutions, and like every government service classified as “nonessential,” they have to struggle every year: some, to find money for new books, others just to scrape together the money to stay open. Donations, even books that they don’t decide to lend out, help bridge that funding gap. So in honor of National Library Week, Oni has graciously agreed to partner with us to try and make our libraries a little bit better. Hit the jump to find out how we’re going to help.

First of all, a HUGE thank you to the folks at Oni for making this possible. If you participate, please make sure to show your love on social media (@OniPress).

Go through your comics. It’s spring cleaning time, so you should probably be doing that anyway. If you look at your shelf and you find a book that doesn’t have sentimental value, that you haven’t read in a couple of years, and that when you look at it, you don’t immediately say “oh shit, I should really read that again,” bring it down to your local library and give it to them. Help show other people why you love the books you do. Write “Happy National Library Week, Roboteers!” on a sheet of paper next to the book you donate, and post a picture of them in the comments of this post. Then email me (thejimdandy1 at gmail dot com) and let me know in the email what library you gave it to, and I will send you our very special Oni pack.

That pack includes PDF copies of the first collections of Courtney Crumrin; Wasteland; Crogan’s Vengeance; and Queen and Country. All four of them. Oni’s seriously committed to helping our libraries, because all of these books are freaking fantastic. So get out there and give away your books, people!

This week in comics: Marvel’s publishing schedule mystifies; the secret origin of the Lumberjanes; a shameless crossover full of shameless jokes; Metropolis is defended by great pink globs of greasy grimy Proty guts; Bloodshot is cut! Bloodshot is cut; and the Lady Rangers get ready for a deep run in the Stanley Cup playo…wait, wrong Lady Rangers. But first, let’s take a look at one of those free books, shall we?

The Crogan Adventures: Catfoot’s Vengeance (Oni Press)
The edition of Catfoot’s Vengeance coming out this week is a colored and relettered version of the black and white book that you could get for free if you donate a comic to your library. How’s THAT for cross-promotion? But nevermind promotional synchronicity; how was the book? In a word: outstanding.

Catfoot’s Vengeance is cartooning in its best form. The art is much closer to a daily comic strip in the newspaper than it is typical superhero fare, but writer/artist Chris Schweitzer benefits from having more than 3 panels to build better, deeper sequences, including some terrific fights. The writing is just delightful: the story is framed by a father telling his son a story about a far ancestor, the origin story of their great great great great great great grandpirate, Catfoot Crogan.

I haven’t read the original, but I did read Schweitzer’s introduction to this edition, where he discussed relettering and coloring his old black and white artwork. It was an informative glimpse into the creative process that is fairly well established as hardcore catnip for me.

I really can’t recommend Catfoot’s Vengenace enough. I’m going to eventually get a hard copy, because this is a comic that should be read to someone.

You can pick up The Crogan Adventures: Catfoot’s Vengeance at your friendly local comic shop or online via Comixology.


Skrulls Must Die: The Complete Skrull Kill Krew (Marvel Comics)
Skrull Kill Krew was a miniseries from the mid ’90s by Mark Millar, Grant Morrison and Gmoz’s Zenith collaborator, Steve Yeowell. It was pretty much the peak of that phase of their work – sarcastic punk anti-comics. Released right as the industry started to collapse, you get inklings of where both were going to go. It was cynical and nihilistic, but pretty good. The action was solid, and it was funny and entertaining, but very much of the time it came out. The collection also includes some stuff from Secret Invasion where Ryder and his gang came back to hunt down hidden Skrull agents embedded in Initiative teams around the country.

But why in the world would Marvel put this back in print right now? What purpose does reprinting this stuff do? Well, let’s make a wild, uninformed, borderline irresponsible speculation: Marvel’s last TV announcement was a SHIELD spinoff, right? And Ryder, the leader of the Skrull Kill Krew, is heavily implied as being ex-SHIELD, isn’t he (or did I totally read that wrong)? You see where I’m going with this now: the next Marvel TV show is going to be Adama’s Inhuman Kill Krew.

You can pick up Skrulls Must Die: The Complete Skrull Kill Krew at your friendly local comic shop or online via Comixology.

BOOM! Studios

Lumberjanes #13 (BOOM! Studios)
This month, we get the secret origin of the Lumberjanes. Spoilers: Jen was bit by a radioactive camp counselor, giving her the proportional speed and uptightness of a camp counselor.

Kidding. I do really love this book, and this issue is more of the same. It is kind of an origin story – it shows how the Lumberjanes all came to the camp, and a little inkling of their backstory. The art, from Brooke Allen, is great. Noelle Stevenson and Shannon Watters pack a ton of characterization into the brief glimpses of each girl that we’re given. Also, there is a real, actual fastball special in this, and I think by the transitive law of the X-Men, that makes Lumberjanes officially X-canon. Which explains the new camper who sulks and wears nothing but a strangely pointy black leotard and teaches the other campers how to hunt people at the end of the issue.

You can pick up Lumberjanes #13 at your friendly local comic shop or online via Comixology.

Dark Horse Comics

Archie Vs. Predator #1 (Dark Horse Comics)
Dark Horse and Archie promised this would happen back at NYCC and yet for some reason I didn’t really let myself believe.

Even after calling Night of the Living Jughead one of the best comics of 2014, I still couldn’t bring myslef to accept that this crossover was actually real.

And yet here we are, alive in such a magical time that we get to talk about a book that Riverdale gang facing down an alien who was created for a first-person shooter a decade before anyone knew that a first-person shooter was a thing that could be invented. I’m trying to come up with a more ridiculous pairing, but Sonic vs. Samus has already happened in Super Smash Brothers, and Pong vs. Dark Souls is just impossible. I actually, honestly can’t. And what’s messing me up about this book is it’s probably going to be really good. I mean, for shit’s sake, De Campi puts A GODDAMN SHOWGIRLS JOKE ON PAGE 1. It’s just not fair.

You can pick up Archie Vs. Predator #1 at your friendly local comic shop or online via Comixology or Dark Horse’s site.

DC Comics

Convergence: Supergirl Matrix #1 (DC Comics)
So, I’m an idiot. I only just now realized that the Convergence minis are released together according to era – so last week’s books are all Old 52; this week’s are all Zero Hour; next week we see pre-Crisis stories, etc.

Keith Giffen on a DC book in the last 4 years has been pretty close to a guaranteed hit for me. I will forever be a founding member of the OMAC Daddys, demanding the return of Giffen and DiDio’s Kirby-packed relaunch series. Hell, I stuck with Infinity Man for like, 3 issues longer than I probably should have because of how much fun it was. And judging by the preview pages here, he’s not taking anything about this seriously, giving us a comic where Proty’s ancestor who thinks it’s Supergirl takes abuse from the Brain Ginger Lex Luthor, and ends up fighting Lady Quark and Lord Volt, two heroes who were created explicitly to die in the original Crisis. I’m glad this one’s on my pull list.

You can pick up Convergence: Supergirl Matrix #1 at your friendly local comic shop or online via Comixology.

Valiant Comics

Bloodshot Reborn #1 (Valiant Comics)
Bloodshot had a pretty rough go of things in The Valiant, and Jeff Lemire and Mico Suayan start to make him pick up the pieces with this week’s Bloodshot Reborn. In retrospect, this isn’t all that much of a tonal departure from The Valiant – that was a lot darker than I realized the first time I read through it, with an earned cheat ending that means the heroes had about as far from a clean win as you can get, and Bloodshot got the worst of it.

Without spoiling anything beyond what I just vaguely did, Reborn has him recovering physically from the final battle with the Immortal Enemy, but failing miserably at psychologically healing. Suayan’s pencils are tight and clean, almost photo real with a hint of ’90s musculature, but dark as hell. Lemire’s script answers an interesting question I didn’t expect to see in this book: what would an Aronofsky superhero movie look like? [Gordon having beers and cheeting on his wife? – LYT] This isn’t a light, fun book that shows Bloodshot starting an herb garden and joining a book club. He’s snorting painkillers, drinking cheap hooch and hallucinating sex with his dead girlfriend. I half expect the series to end with the Eternal Warrior taking off into space on a tree. Spoilers for The Fountain, in case being 10 years distant isn’t far enough.

You can pick up Bloodshot Reborn #1 at your friendly local comic shop or online via Comixology.

Action Lab Entertainment

Nutmeg #1 (Action Lab Entertainment)
Nutmeg is a new series from Action Lab about two middle school girls in a vaguely Girl Scoutish group, dealing with class issues in the lead up to their Brownie Blitz, the annual event when the Lady Rangers fire rocket propelled confections into the capital city of their enemy, the Gentlemen Woodland Explorers.

James F. Wright scripts an entertaining, if a little saccharine (yuk yuk) world, with well drawn characters who are pretty solidly relatable if you’ve ever been the new kid anywhere. Jackie Crofts’ artwork is very good – you see subtle video game influences in some of her panel layouts, and you can tell it’s digitally colored, and I really like the muted palette and the way she played with the focus in a couple of the panels. I also really liked the alternate covers – Baking Bad and the awesomely punny Days of Future Repast cover that you see on the side here.

You can pick up Nutmeg #1 at your friendly local comic shop or online via Comixology.

That’s what I’m reading this week. What are you picking up?