Friday, 26 April 2013

Free Comic Book Day 2013 - the lineup!

Free Comic Book Day is next weekend! As excitement builds, here's a look at the titles we'll have on offer in store:

This special Walking Dead issue contains a new Tyrese short story, who made his television debut in The Walking Dead Season 3! It also reprints short stories featuring Michonne, The Governor and Morgan. This special issue is a must-have for Walking Dead fans--none of these stories will be reprinted in the trade paperbacks!

The biggest super heroes in comics today – the Avengers, X-Men, Guardians of the Galaxy, Fantastic Four, Inhumans, Superior Spider-Man & more! The most dangerous threat in the Marvel Universe – Thanos! The grandest Marvel Comics event of all time - INFINITY! In this all-new story by the blockbuster creative team of Jonathan Hickman and Jim Cheung, witness the opening shots of the war that will be heard around the galaxy. Plus, get a sneak peek behind a major Marvel release that hasn’t been announced yet and relive Thanos’ first solo story.

Superman: The Last Son of Krypton #1 is a great jumping-on point for fans who can't wait to see Warner Bros. Pictures' Man of Steel major motion picture! This issue features the first chapter of the Superman: Last Son of Krypton graphic novel, written by Richard Donner and Geoff Johns and illustrated by Adam Kubert, featuring Superman's epic battle with General Zod and the Phantom Zone villains. In addition, it includes a special sneak preview of the blockbuster new monthly series starring The Man of Steel by the all-star team of Scott Snyder and Jim Lee!

Three blockbuster titles fill this FCBD offering! In R.I.P.D., a séance goes terribly wrong! Then, in Mass Effect, follow a flight-school grad as he breaks the rules to prove himself in space! Finally, check out the police-state landscape of the highly anticipated miniseries The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys!

All-ages adventure! Star Wars joins fan-favorite villains Darth Vader and Boba Fett! Then explore the upcoming Dark Horse series Captain Midnight, where the search for the missing superhero is on! And the smash hit Avatar: The Last Airbender follows Mai as she deals with her broken heart . . .

This super sampler is the perfect place to check out two sensational series from the DC Kids line, Beware The Batman and Teen Titans Go!, based on Warner Bros. Animation's new animated series coming soon to Cartoon Network's DC Nation Saturday morning programming block. It includes two exciting, all-new stories that readers of all ages will enjoy!

It's out action featuring the newest stars to be of Disney XD: Avengers and the Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.! Featuring art pulled directly from the animated series, this sneak peek at the two newest animated series from the geniuses at Marvel Animation promises to make this the biggest Free* Comic Book Day Ever! *Are we really giving this away?! YES!

In this bumper 48-page FCBD special, The Jimps Club is a brand new Judge Dredd story about a club of Judge impersonators compete against each other to see who can last the longest on the harsh streets of the 'Big Meg'. They've got being a Judge down to a fine art, nailed the mannerisms and the stance, but all it takes is one mistake for Dredd to spot an imposter...; Zombo returns in the all-new Planetronix: Mohawk Of Menace! - the failed government robot defense force Planetronix are on a mission to just say NO to DRUGS! But when Yellow Lion starts getting into insidious punk rock music, Zombo has to intervene; plus thrill-pounding action from The Visible Man, dimensional instability issues for Indigo Prime and dubious thermo-nuclear advice from alien delinquents DR & Quinch.

Aphrodite IX returns for Free Comic Book Day!  This first free issue launches a new ongoing series of Top Cow's fan favorite, memory challenged, green haired, questionably human heroine.  Hundreds of years after a cataclysmic event scorched the surface, Earth and its inhabitants have been forever altered and a new landscape and political struggle has taken hold with three distinct factions fighting for control.  Aphrodite IX is both anachronism and advanced technology in a world that she no longer recognizes.  No aliens, just humans and their genetically and technologically altered descendants in a mixture of the best Sci-Fi and Fantasy has to offer!

Unanimously heralded by fans, creators, retailers and critics as the perfect first comic to give to a non-comic-reader. It's a robotic experiment gone wrong, and only Atomic Robo's brand of violent science can save the day. We've got lasers, explosions, and robots. It's like the transforming-robot movies, but comprehensible! Plus, previews of 2013 adventures of Red 5 favorites and new faces.

Bongo rings in another Free Comic Book Day with a comical cornucopia of four-color comics and games. First, Bart becomes a model citizen for a day...with disastrous results. Then, Jimbo and the gang escalate and elevate their juvenile delinquency to new heights. Stick around for a bedtime tale with the dim but adorable Li'l Homer and go in search of the Happy Little Elves with Maggie.

Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, the first, best and original sci-fi hero is supporting free comic book day with a special re-print of two complete Sunday stories by fabled artist Rick Yager, who defined the look of the character for over twenty years.  Hermes Press' Buck Rogers FCBD issue will feature two complete, exciting storylines starring Buck Rogers and Wilma Deering in "The Mind of Minds" and "Wilma to the Rescue."  These stories have been painstakingly digitally reconstructed to perfection and look better than the original newspaper Sundays!  Hermes Press' Buck Rogers FDBD issue will also offer bonus material and tons of surprises!

The Little Mermaid has been captured by a cruel wizard, who intends to keep her locked away forever. But help comes in the form of a valiant one-legged tin soldier whose heart is far bigger than he is. Can the Little Mermaid escape her vicious captor with nothing but a talking toy to guide her? Find out in this fairy tale for all ages written by Matthew Sturges (Jack of Fables, Doctor Who).

Return to the fantastic world of Gossamyr as Th3rd World's critically acclaimed, all-ages series continues in an brand new, original, adventure just for Free Comic Book Day! The Lorelarks are tasked with chronicling the tales of Gossamyr. But when a young novice feels that the growing legends of Jenna and her brother Denny might become a danger to the siblings, she is moved to action and challenges the code of her order. Also in this issue, the saga of the New York Times Bestselling Graphic Novel, The Stuff of Legend continues!

The New York Times-best selling zombie series FUBAR returns with an all-new Free Comic Book Day one-shot! This 32-page issue contains four stories that span the entire American experience from Valley Forge to the present day. Select stories from FUBAR: American History Z (in Previews this February) will put you in the boots of the founding fathers as they come face to face with the walking dead. If you're new to FUBAR, now's the perfect time to jump on board!

Discover the characters, creatures and inspiration behind the storyline of NBC's hit-series, Grimm!  From the producers of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, Grimm features Portland homicide detective Nick Buckhardt, as he discovers he's descended from a long line of "Grimms," who are charged with keeping balance between humanity and the creatures of myth.  With newly awoken abilities to detect the evil lurking among us, Nick struggles to keep his old life separate and safe as he becomes ever more entrenched in the ancient rivalries of the Grimm world.
In advance of IDW's coming ongoing series re-presenting the best Judge Dredd stories from the past with all-new coloring, this special FCBD release offers one of the most beloved Dredd stories of all time: the introduction of Judge Death, with all-new color! Plus: bonus "Walter the Wobot" strips appearing in color for the very first time, all beautifully illustrated by the brilliant Brian Bolland!

An explosion of All-Ages awesomeness from KaBOOM! this Free Comic Book Day! Sure to be one of the most popular offerings this Free Comic Book Day, the KaBOOM! Summer Blast is 48 pages chock-full of the most popular all-ages comics on the stands today! Featuring excerpts from Adventure Time, Peanuts, Regular Show, Bravest Warriors, Garfield, Ice Age and some brand-new surprises, these series will keep readers young and old coming back to your comic shop again and again!

For Free Comic Book Day, Archaia is proud to present a square flip book containing a collection of original short stories from some of its all-ages-friendly titles! In David Petersen's Mouse Guard short, a young Sadie is told a mouse fairy tale about proving one's self and the best trait to look for in love. Royden Lepp's Rust tells how rocket-boy Jet Jones learns an important lesson while helping the younger members of the Taylor family with their daily chores on the farm. This spectacular, free one-shot also includes original short stories from Sean Rubin's upcoming, enchanting dinosaur tale, Bolivar; Jim Henson's fantasy classic, Labyrinth (an Archaia original graphic novel by Ted Naifeh, Adrianne Ambrose, and Cory Godbey is in the works); and Nate Cosby and Chris Eliopoulos' justice-seekin' boy hero, Cow Boy. As an added bonus, there's also fun Pantalones, TX activity pages by Yehudi Mercado!

"Worlds Collide: PRELUDE" - It's TWO free comic books in ONE! Just in time for the start of the epic Sonic the Hedgehog and Mega Man crossover event, "Worlds Collide," comes a primer issue exclusively for Free Comic Book Day! Witness the journey these two epic heroes from both Sega and Capcom took to finally meet each other - Mega Man's journey chronicled on one side, and Sonic the Hedgehog's on the other! This is the must-have primer for the biggest comic book event of 2013 - as video game icons Sonic the Hedgehog and Mega Man meet for the very first time anywhere - featuring art from both Sonic and Mega Man comic book fame!

United Plankton brings you a completely original collection of SpongeBob comics for FCBD 2013. In "Paint Misbehavin'" Squidward teaches SpongeBob and Patrick how to paint realistically--but how did they learn to bring their painted creations to life? Then in "Day of the Free Comic" SpongeBob must foil Plankton's latest plan: invading the Krusty Krab inside a...giveaway comic book! Will funny books ever be the same? And: Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy take on a new villain: the sultry Catfishstress. All this plus facts about the colorful cuttlefish, a fill-in comic, and a preview of this summer's SpongeBob superhero-themed annual!

From the mind of legendary creator Stan Lee comes his newest superhero, CHAKRA THE INVINCIBLE.  Chakra tells the story of young Indian teenager, Raju Rai, a technology genius living in Mumbai. Determined to use science to unlock the secrets of human potential, Raju develops a technological suit that activates the mystical Chakras of the body, unleashing newfound abilities and powers.

SteamPunk Originals Presents: The Steam Engines of Oz FCBD. Get a special sneak peek at the upcoming re-imagining of Oz through a SteamPunk lens. Find out what happens 100 years AFTER the witch is dead.  In an Oz ruled by a once revered hero, salvation comes from the unlikely wrench of Victoria Wright, who dares to question status quo and sparks a rebellion. This FCBD Edition will give you an exciting extended preview of the upcoming graphic novel AND a look at what else Arcana's SteamPunk Originals line has in store for readers!

"The last thing you want to see is my hands." They're called the Strangers. They're deadly. Dangerous. And you'll never see them unless they want you to. But now they've come up against something big - United States government big. A cover-up of international proportions, and at the center of it all is the Strangers' deadliest foe, a man known only as Capricorn. A man who knows the Strangers. A man who sees them.

Jumping from screen to page, it's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles NEW ANIMATED ADVENTURES! This unique series captures the heart of the smash Nickelodeon television show with brand-new stories. Full of action, excitement and laughs, this is the perfect all-ages comic to get you seeing green!

Everything you need to know about the Valiant Universe in 2013 happens right here this Free Comic Book Day! The critically acclaimed, best-selling comics launch of the decade throws it into high gear with HARBINGER WARS, Valiant's first-ever family crossover! The blistering conflict between BLOODSHOT and HARBINGER will crack the Valiant Universe in half and reveal the true cost of power.  Plus -- who will stand to oppose X-O MANOWAR on PLANET DEATH? What adventure lies beyond the horizon for ARCHER & ARMSTRONG?  Who is the true heir to the legacy of the SHADOWMAN? And what top-secret projects could possibly be coming next? Get all the answers right here.

This Free Comic Book Day, dive deep into the greatest stories of the original Valiant Universe -- remastered and collected together for the first time anywhere! Relive the best-selling adventures of Valiant's definitive heroes -- NINJAK, SHADOWMAN, the ETERNAL WARRIOR, and more -- in this special FCBD-only edition previewing the next year's worth of VALIANT MASTERS hardcover collections. Featuring all-time classic work by some of comics' most celebrated talent including Jim Shooter, Joe Quesada, Barry Windsor-Smith, David Lapham, Bob Layton and more. There's never been a better time to discover why the Valiant Universe created a new generation of comics fans and became the stuff of legend.
Aspen is proud to celebrate its TENTH ANNIVERSARY and is planning its largest initiative ever-including this year's jam-packed Worlds of Aspen 2013 Free Comic Book Day flip book! Join Aspen Comics as they reveal exclusive in-depth content for all of their exciting "10 for 10" titles which debut all year long. Aspen is also offering TWO completely brand new stories, starting with Michael Turner's Fathom! Kicking off this summer's upcoming thrilling Fathom event, Fathom writers David Wohl (Fathom Volume 4) and Vince Hernandez (Fathom: Kiani), along with seasoned Fathom scribe J.T. Krul deliver an exclusive 12 page FCBD story featuring the brilliant regular series art team of Alex Konat and Beth Sotelo! And to top it all off, Worlds of Aspen 2013 will showcase a WORLD PREMIERE preview of Peter Steigerwalds' upcoming new Aspen series, ZOONITY! 

So there you have it! Lot's of exciting titles worth your time! We'll see you next Saturday, May the Fourth be with you!

Ben Fardon is looking forward to seeing some good Star Wars cosplay on the day!

Press Release - Superheroes and Zombies lead a parade of free comics


For Immediate Release

Superheroes and Zombies lead a parade of free comics

26th April, 2013

Two of the biggest tickets in media entertainment today are coming together next weekend.

The latest hit series of The Walking Dead has just wowed home audiences on the small screen, and now the latest superhero films are set to dominate our cinemas with the release of Marvel's Iron Man 3 and the Man Of Steel from Warner Bros. All three feature among the huge array of great titles on offer at this year's Free Comic Book Day event. 

On Saturday 4th May, both new readers and longterm fans alike can get their hands on of free comics from Cheltenham’s very own comic book shop, Proud Lion. Owner Ben Fardon is excited by the special significance of the date, ”It's so easy to remember when Free Comic Book Day is this year, because it's also Star Wars Day! May The Fourth be with you!”

Free Comic Book Day is an annual event that is now into its twelfth year. FCBD, as it is also known, was started in 2001 to coincide with the release of Spider-Man at the cinemas. The aim of the day is to bring comics to new readers and thank the existing fans for their support.

The Walking Dead free comic contains a new Tyrese short story, who made his television debut in The Walking Dead season three! It also reprints short stories featuring Michonne, The Governor and Morgan. This special issue is a must-have for Walking Dead fans - none of these stories will be reprinted in the trade paperbacks!

The Superman features the first chapter of the Superman: Last Son of Krypton graphic novel, written by former Superman director, Richard Donner and Geoff Johns. In addition, it includes a special sneak preview of the blockbuster new monthly by the all-star team of Scott Snyder and Jim Lee!

The full list of free comics also includes comics based on the successful Mass Effect computer game series and of course a Star Wars comic, in honour of the date. 

Other free comics include Judge Dredd, Sonic The Hedgehog, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Atomic Robo!

Free Comic Book Day 2013 is Saturday 4th May 2013. Proud Lion will be open that day from 10am till 5pm. Free comics will be available whilst stocks last.

For more information about Free Comic Book Day either pop into the shop or contact Ben at Proud Lion on 01242 525636 or at


Thursday, 25 April 2013

New Beginnings - Jupiter's Legacy #1

A few years ago I came across a relatively different graphic novel called as The Authority. It was written by one, Mr Mark Millar. As I hadn’t really read anything outside of the normal Marvel and DC comics at that point, I was blissfully unaware that this was in fact published by an imprint held by DC. Or that Millar was the second writer on the series. All of that mattered little to me. Instead I was presented with a comic which tended to steer towards the courageous righteousness that both Marvel and DC loved, before sharply veering away and subverting the superhero norms.

Thus began my appreciation of Mark Millar’s work.

Following this I have read other titles such as Nemesis, Superior, Supercrooks and The Secret Service (to name a few of his works) - which were found on the almost egotistically named Millarworld label - and each one of them has lived up to my initial love of the different angles that he has taken in the past. There is also a huge element of successful self-promotion usually found in the comics and so I have known about Jupiter’s Legacy for some time now as well. Although this is worth noting that this is published by Image in collaboration with Millarworld.

I hadn’t done any further research into the storyline though, instead teasing myself with what could be and simply judging the book completely by its cover. Shallow? Maybe, but it preserved the mystery.

Jupiter’s Legacy hasn’t disappointed me at all. Issue #1 lived up to the hype I had created for myself, drawn from my expectations based on previous works.

In one respect this story is your basic superhero tale. A group of people venture to a mysterious island and for whatever equally enigmatic reason are granted super powers. Hooray! America is saved, the modern world can sleep easy and so “life” continues. This is where Millar begins to add his twist however - for this is not about the great and virtuous heroes, this is about their children.

Have you ever wanted to have a superhero as your Mum or Dad? If you have, then I’m pretty sure that you’ve imagined all the great things about it, but what about the rest? The expectations placed upon you by the public - and worst of all your parents - wanting you to live up to their growing legacies; doing it by their rules and under their ideals. Not a fantastic mix for a child in any walk of life, let alone a child with powers.

This issue is all about setting the scene, establishing our characters and meeting them in their own personal worlds. For me, it has explored the personalities involved, their shortfalls, and the differences between the generations, alongside the trivial nature of fame. These were the main aspects that drew me in. It would be so easy to just write another mostly happy family hero team story, but instead it actually manhandles more real life issues but with the superhero emphasis piled on it. This is what I love! Ageing, stalwart heroes juxtaposed with their shallow, cowardly children - more obsessed with their company endorsements than the ding the right thing - and the parallels between the Great Depression and the modern economic crisis.

The artwork comes from another stalwart from The Authority, Frank Quietly, who has also provided the main cover artwork. Variants are provided by Bryan Hitch, Dave Johnson, Phil Noto and J. Scott Campbell. Personally it’s hard to find fault with the interior artwork, Frank's work is always a delight, most memorably for me on Batman & Robin and All Star Superman. The Johnson and Noto covers didn’t really grab me but Bryan Hitch’s did. One thing I did enjoy with all of these though was how different they were, each taking a different aspect from the same story but you wouldn’t necessarily have linked them without the title. Another showing of its versatility as a story.

The internal artwork is clean and has a lot of fine linework, meaning that the frames don’t feel cluttered. I did get a little swept along by the themes of the story, but the more realistic feel of the art helped that too. A lot of attention has be paid and used to ensure there is a clear generation gap between the characters, further emphasising the differences the story exploits.

In short this is not your normal thigh-slapping, save-the-day superhero tale. This is a great little read and very easy on the eyes. Jupiter’s Legacy is a great little treasure and a welcome addition to my pull list.

Matt Puddy is wondering what Nemesis 2 and Kick-Ass 3 will bring to the table.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

New Beginnings - House Of Gold And Bones #1

Corey Taylor is known for forming and fronting Stone Sour as well as being the lead (since 1997) for Slipknot. Now he's teamed up with Dark Horse to bring us the House of Gold and Bones. The cover is mysterious, showing a tortured screaming figure with a nice artistic play on the shadows as they form a devilish individual.

The back cover however is advertising the second part of Stone Sour’s double album of the same name. This really took the edge off for me and made the story inside automatically feel like a bit of a sell out; attempting to make a brand where one may not have been or wrangling extra fans.

Further continuing the musical theme, this issue is titled Part One The Overture. For those who aren’t sure what that means, you receive a helpful definition of four possible versions of the word. I can only hope that one of them is suitable in the long run over the four issues of this miniseries.

The story is essentially a fairly basic dreamworld scenario with a nod towards fears of being chased, heights and falling. These are initially a vehicle to push the main character into a small building to meet with a shadowy figure who is scripted as part conundrum and part Yoda in his way of thinking and questioning. From here there is a vague idea of places to be and pieces to follow, but nothing firmly driving the reader to think more into it. A lot of the issue is spoon fed to you with nothing else to support it making it feel a little thin. A good example of this is the main character. With the exception of learning of a twin brother called Allen, there is nothing for the reader to identify with, leaving him a little vacuous. The only clues to a personality are found within the internal monologue and occasional interaction he has, which doesn’t leave much to work with at all. With a goal in hand and a distance to travel the issue wraps up with an obvious cliffhanger, but once again no real feeling of threat or suspense.

The artwork I also found to be similar to the writing. It’s very open and loose, with a very muted choice in its colours. As it is all a dream - or potentially a nightmare - it does work to a degree. Richard Clark’s characterisations frustrated me though. The positions that the characters were in sometimes felt a little overemphasised, but more in the sense of a puppet than a person. There's a lot of facial expression used but the rapid changes between the spectrum of emotions seems too quick to carry off a realistic change of demeanour - unless of course they are bordering on schizophrenic.

Knowing who is behind it I felt disappointed in it. Maybe it’s just that comics are not a forum that works well for Taylor's writing though, as the small taster of his prose novel in the final pages did quell the feelings of dissatisfaction. Maybe it'll improve as a whole over the three subsequent issues.

Matt Puddy is more of a Mushroomhead fan.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Big Game Hunting - Game versus Comic: Mass Effect

There are a handful of comics that only exist thanks to the great success of the games that inspired them. But just how good are these comics when compared to their digital counterparts? This week we look at some of four comic series that have been written to expand the worlds and stories of the Mass Effect universe. The series are Redemption, Evolution, Invasion, and Homeworlds, all written by Mac Walters. Please note that, while I will attempt to keep this article as spoiler-free as possible, some are simply unavoidable due to the content of the comics.

What's the comic about?
Redemption shows us Liara T'Soni's search for Shepard after a devastating attack on the Normandy. Evolution is the story of the Illusive Man and his involvement in the First Contact War. Invasion focuses on Aria T'Loak and her battle to keep Omega from Cerberus. Homeworlds is the only one that contains four smaller stories focusing on four different characters: James Vega, Tali'Zorah nar Rayya, Garrus Vakarian, and another round with Liara.

When does the comic take place in relation to game events?
This varies between series. Redemption takes place sometime after the attack on the Normandy in the beginning of Mass Effect 2. Evolution is backstory, taking place before the events of all the games, during the First Contact War. Invasion deals with the time between Mass Effect 2 and 3. Homeworlds, again being a shift from the norm, varies depending on which character is in the spotlight.

How true are the characters?
Given that the writer here was also the lead writer for Mass Effect 2 and 3, it's no surprise that the characters are almost completely consistent with their game appearances. Reading the dialogue is like playing the game, and it's wonderfully easy to hear their voices saying the words in your head. Occasionally characters felt forced, particularly Liara in the beginning of Redemption – but that could be down to my own personal connection, or lack there of, with particular characters in the series.

What about continuity?
No flaws in continuity here! In fact, the comic does the exact opposite, by filling in the blanks that players may notice in the games. For example, we get to see how Liara became so determined to get even with the Shadow Broker, Saren's involvement in the First Contact War, Aria's complicated relationship with Cerberus.

What does the comic do that the game doesn't, or can't?
Essentially it is able to give more details about the backstory or side stories that were not included in the games. The game, naturally, is only able to focus on the events that Shepard is involved in. The comics are able to delve further into the world, to focus on the people and events around Shepard and outside of his/her timeline, without the limitations of being restricted to one viewpoint character.

Can I read this without playing the game?
In all honesty? Probably not. Because each comic series focuses on a different point in time, each one would expect the reader to have played a certain amount of the games. Redemption shouldn't be read before playing through at least the first hour or so of Mass Effect 2, while Invasion is best played after completing Mass Effect 2 entirely.

Want to give these comics a go? Dark Horse are collecting all four of these graphic novels - plus short stories from MySpace Dark Horse Presents, and the Dark Horse digital store - into an oversized hardcover collection called the Mass Effect Library Edition Volume 1. It's released at the end of May and available to pre-order now!

Rae is trying to resist another complete play through of the Mass Effect games!

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Play more games at the Proud Lion Gaming Bar!

Proud Lion is two floors of geeky solitude in the heart of the Cotswolds. Alongside the comics, graphic novels and merchandise, we also have board games, card games and RPGs including the Gaming Bar upstairs.

In recent months it's played host to TableTop Day and LCG Day, and there's a second LCG Day taking place on Saturday 20th April. But what a lot of people don't realise, is the Gaming Bar is available to any gamers to use any day we're open. Just turn up and play! No fee, no need to book - first come, first served.

We're adding a red noticeboard upstairs, where gamers can advertise meet ups and seek other players - either in-store or further afield. I know there's a huge community of gamers out there; we look forward to seeing you guys in-store!

Ben Fardon is exciting for the return of the Ice Warriors!

Thursday, 11 April 2013

New Beginnings - Batman Li’l Gotham #1

Every now and then the review piece that I have is easily considered to be from leftfield, and this week is exactly that. Li’l Gotham is a brand new comic aimed very much at an incredibly young audience. It’s one of the first comics that I have seen in a while that carries an E rating for Everyone, which is a change from the increasingly adult content in comics.

Dustin Nguyen is the writer on the issue alongside Derek Fridolfs, who have both worked before on the previous Batman Li’l Gotham shorts that appeared in the back of DC's Batman Annuals in 2009. It's surprising to me that the concept has been revived after a period of about four years.

The issue contains two stories for the reader. The first revolves around Halloween, with Batman trying to teach Robin (still Damian) the meaning behind the annual festive evening. It’s also a chance for both of them to try and find the childhoods that never were. Through the crowds and being forced to Trick or Treat properly, Robin can almost taste the spoils before Batman decided a meal is in order. By luck this is the one place in Gotham where all of his adversaries are eating on that fateful evening...

Now normally the Dark Knight would swoop into dynamic action, but instead he buys them dinner (the restaurant seems to accept his word for his credit) and calls the cops. A very family friendly way to deal justice out which seems consummate with the audience.

The second tale is much in the same vein, but taking on the American holiday of Thanksgiving. This time the story revolves around the Penguin menacing the Gotham City parade with his marching army of turkeys. Once again the Caped Crusader and the Boy Wonder save the day in a very placid way, leaving poor old Oswald heading for jail. Whether it is Blackgate or Arkham you’re not sure as when he is there it’s all smiles and happy faces around a dinner for themselves too.

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In both stories the artwork, also by Nguyen, is not his normal. Obviously the characters are all portrayed in a very childlike manner with Damian, ironically, not changing much at all. On the whole every character is easily recognisable from cover to close.

The style of the artwork is similar to a very soft version of the baby covers we are seeing from Skottie Young on the Marvel Now variant covers, yet more like a water colour. The emphasis is very much towards having easily viewed and enjoyed stories with plenty of smiling faces and very little negative emotions coming through.

This is very clearly designed to be an easy read comic and looks like it is trying to be a vehicle to introduce very young children to comics. That said the language usage is not the equivalent to the artwork in this sense which does create a certain difference within the issue.

Personally, I found this a very hard issue to read and review as it didn’t strike a chord with me. It was far too cutesy and soft as a story and to look at so didn’t hit home with me, but if I had young children that I wanted to share my love of comics with - or wanted to give them something new to look at - then this would be the ideal comic to pick up.

Matt Puddy is not really a miserable old cynic, he just sounds like one in this article!

Monday, 8 April 2013

Carrier bags and charity - Red Nose Day

Hi folks,

Last week marked not only the end of the current financial quarter (and the financial year) but also the end of the latest period of collecting money for charity from our sales of carrier bags.

This is our eighth full quarter and together we raised £10.42!

Last time I supported the Alzheimer's Society in memory of Gerry Anderson, who sadly passed away in December, and other friends and family who have lost loved ones to this heartbreaking illness.

This time, I've supported Red Nose Day, for all the laughter they've brought us over the years and all the sterling work they do both here and overseas.

The next carrier bag donation will be in early July. If you have a charity you'd like Proud Lion to support, please email me at

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

TableTop Day 2013 - the glorious aftermath

TableTop Day was a roaring success for Proud Lion - many thanks to everyone who helped to make the day a hit, especially Ian Blakeman, Rae Gould and Nick Moore!

There were some great games including lively rounds of Zombie Dice and bloodthirsty and very noisy session of Munchkin. Goblins Inc ended our day in fine fashion.

The Raffle Prize winners are below:

FIRST PRIZE: £20 worth of Proud Lion vouchers - Christian Jensen Romer

SECOND PRIZE: Zombie Dice - Elizabeth White

RUNNERS UP: Munchkin Easter booster expansion (x6) - Chris Ledger, Clive Sexton, Alexa Collicott, Elizabeth White (again!), George Penny and Mike Webster

Congratulations to you all and commiserations to all who missed out. We raised a little bit for Winston's Wish so thanks to everyone who took part!

Ben Fardon is looking forward to Free Comic Book Day!