Sunday, March 04, 2012

Ghosts of FCBD Past: The Intrepid Escapegoat (2011)

Debonair magician-entertainer extraordinaire... Thomas Fleet... The Intrepid Escapegoat!
Though I have yet to ever "officially" participate in a Free Comic Book Day event (not for lack of desire... weekends in the month of May are chock full of Track and Field meets, so my coaching duties prevent me from attending), I do enjoy purchasing the "free" comics the following week. Even though they are not acquired for free, the price is usually nominal, anywhere from a buck or two depending on how rare the freebie is. In many cases, the comic is not simply a reprint of an older issue, but often is a small part of the larger continuity of the publisher and/or character. What this means to the collector is that "these stories matter" if you are looking to maintain a run that includes all stories in the character's canon.

With Free Comic Book Day 2012 (FCBD to online afficianadoes) coming up soon, I'll occasionally take a look back at some of the not-so-freebies I've acquired over the past few years, starting today with a selection from last May from independent publisher Th3rd World Studios, The Intrepid Escapegoat written and illustrated by Brian Smith.

This issue serves as an introduction to the character of Thomas Fleet, the eponymous escapegoat. An all-ages book, Thomas' world is populated by both anthropomorphic animal and human characters, all of whom interact with no regard for their differences. One of the excellent attributes of this introductory issue is that it does no introducing of the main character; the reader picks up Thomas in the middle of an adventure and we learn about him as he goes through the story. While in Egypt on tour (did I mention that Thomas, in addition to being a collector of artifacts, is also a world-famous touring magician?), Thomas is doublecrossed by a fez wearing snake (red flag!) who needs a trinket in Fleet's possession to unlock a "the ultimate power."

The quest for this power ultimately results in the addition of a certain mummy princess to Fleet's inner circle. The Intrepid Escapegoat's introduction in this issue was followed soon thereafter with the monthly release of the equally funtastic (pun intended) three-issue miniseries Curse of the Buddhas Tooth., also worth checking out as it is still availalbe through your local comic shop.

Another great facet of FCBD is that the complimentary issues often also feature flip-comics, such as this one, with two-in-one issues such as this. The Intrepid Escapegoat also features a preview of a series called The Stuff of Legend (with story by Brian Smith, too) ,which "continues the saga of the New York Times bestselling graphic novel." I'd never heard of the title before and its odd (creepy?) toy-character designs were not all that appealing to this reader... but what the heck, it was "free" after all!

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