free comic book day

May 28, 2016

lady mechanika legend of stuff

Being members of a small rural community such as ours we like to support our neighbours and help keep business alive whenever we can. So it was only natural that the boys and I attend the inaugural Free Comic Book Day event held at our little local library earlier this month.

Although the event has been going on for quite a number of years across the globe, it was the first time its' being held in our community. Being a long time fan of the superhero genre (hello Lynda Carter) with two boys also heavily into it, one of whom loves to draw and write stories of his own, we were eager to go along and find out more.

I am so glad we did.

While for some of us it was not quite what we expected it to be, I was pleased with what we did see all the same and came away with a number of new discoveries that we would not have otherwise. Although aimed towards the younger generation of our community, I was fortunate to pick up a couple that particularly caught my attention in the mix.

joe benitez comic bookjoe benitez comic book

Joe Benitez’s Lady Mechanika

Inspired by the Steampunk genre and set at the turn of the last century, Lady Mechanika tells the adventures of a young woman’s search for her identity whilst solving other mysteries involving science and the supernatural.

"...the sole survivor of a mad scientist’s horrific experiments which left her with mechanical limbs, Lady Mechanika has no memory of her former life or captivity. Eventually building a new one for herself as a private detective, Mechanika uses her unique abilities to solve cases the police can’t or won’t handle. But she never stopped searching for the answers to her own past."

Rather Sherlock Holmes meets Wolverine...

Being the type of visual event that Free Comic Book Day was, I was initially drawn by the aesthetic of the illustrations which in many is highly detailed and intricate. What also really appealed was the costume design of the Lady herself; such as her arctic explorer’s ensemble with its overtones and influence reminiscent of other references. A little bit Dragonriders of Pern meets Lara Croft kind of thing...

th3rd world studiosth3rd world studios

The Stuff of Legend, Th3rd World Studios

My other find was the special event reprint of collaborative Th3rd World Studios comic, The Stuff of Legend.

Told in atmospheric monotone shades of brown and grey and set in mid-century Brooklyn, "...a band of toys begin a daring rescue when their owner is snatched from them in a nightmarish visit from the Boogeyman. On their perilous mission into what is called the Dark Realm they are changed, becoming life sized with functional weapons and teeth.

"As they venture into the Dark they confront the Boogeyman’s forces, composed mostly of bitter and forgotten toys under the power of their master, as well as betrayal among their own ranks. Though haunting in its telling it is an ultimately redemptive tale of loyalty, camaraderie and perseverance."

Like Lady Mechanika I was drawn in by the aesthetic of the illustrations, but also too the play on words of the title itself which hints at not only the story itself, but also a lightness of humour being used in the telling of dark matters. So although this is ‘just a comic book’ an interesting literary tool is being touched on also. Certainly it has wetted my appetite and I would be curious in following the story further in subsequent instalments to see how it plays out.

Which is rather the aim of the whole Free Comic Book Day event: to attract new and old readers alike back to the world of comic books and reinvigorate the independent comic book store trade which had once collapsed.

For our part the pleasure of comic books is in the stories they tell and the unique way that they tell them. For myself, I admire the amazing artistry that goes into their creation and will most likely continue to collect them as I discover new artists and stories that inspire me.

Now where did I put that Wonder Woman outfit...?

:: BEKA ::

// further information //
Lady Mechanika, by Joe Benitez
The Stuff of Legend, from Th3rd World Studios
The official Free Comic Book Day resource site

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