Comics Disassembled: Nine Things of Note from the Past Week in Comics, Led by Free Comics!

It only figures that the week I take off from this column features both DC leaving Diamond and the Eisner Award nominations being announced. That’s okay! Plenty of discussion happened about those subjects online, including about the former here, but that was last week. Let’s get to ten things I liked or didn’t like from the past week of comics in Comics Disassembled, led by Marvel returning to its regularly scheduled plans.

1. Marvel, Freestyling

And now…we know. I’ve been wondering when Marvel would officially release its Free Comic Book Day releases, as there was no real word as to when Free Comic Book Day would be rescheduled for, but now the House of Ideas is going rogue and releasing its two releases – a X of Swords lead-in X-Men story from Jonathan Hickman and Pepe Larraz and a Spider-Man/Venom one from Donny Cates, Ryan Stegman, Jed MacKay, and Patrick Gleason – on July 15th and July 22nd respectively.

These had to come soon, or at least the X-Men one did, as the X-Men line felt like it hinged off of this release. So when X-Men #10 was recently resolicited for July 29th, I figured we were almost there. If X of Swords was going to build off the Free Comic Book Day release, it had to come soon. And now we’re here, and I’m excited, as Hickman and Larraz reteaming is an A+, thrilling event.

I do think there’s a very curious aspect of this, and that’s that Marvel is releasing these titles on a) different days and b) Wednesdays. Don’t get me wrong, fans will be happy to get and read them, but releasing them on a Wednesday – a day the average X-Maniac would likely visit anyways – takes away from the central purpose of these releases, and that’s driving foot traffic into comic shops. Making it two separate days isn’t a bad idea, but again, two Wednesdays? It sort of negates the impact and likely just makes any foot traffic they get from it as incidental. It makes sense from a timing standpoint in terms of the month and period they are released in, but consecutive Wednesdays feels like a miss. It’s a weird one.

Can’t wait to read it, though!

2. Comics Dungeon, Closing Up

Seattle’s Comics Dungeon and its owner Scott Tomlin is one of my trusty, go to shops, with Tomlin having an excellent mind for the business and a real respect for the art form. He isn’t someone who needs comics, or even needed to go into this business. He did it because he loved comics and wanted to spread that love. I respect the heck out of that guy and his efforts at Comics Dungeon and the other shop he owns, Corner Comics.

But now, they’re both closing in the next few months. Citing “business conditions in the region, changes within the comics industry, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Tomlin decided it was time to close up after nearly 68 combined years of existence for those shops. I totally get it. Like I said, Tomlin’s a smart guy, and someone who knows when it’s time to go. This is an awful environment for any business, especially in Seattle, the home of the original COVID-19 outbreak. It’s a lot. I don’t blame him in the least.

But I’m bummed out I won’t be able to get insight from him in the future, because he always had such excellent perspective on the way of comics. That’s a very minor part of this story, but regardless, happy trails to Tomlin and his team, and I hope whatever is next is even more exciting for them.

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