Fearless Dawn/Asylum Press Sampler
Oh dear. This isn't very good at all.
Well, that's not entirely fair. Of the seven previews included in this Free Comic Book Day special, one is actively interesting, and one is borderline-good. The others, though...
The comic starts with a preview of Fearless Dawn, the lady gracing the front cover. The art is stylized (to put it nicely) and cartoony (to put it nicely a second time.) If you like ladies with excessively exaggerated curves and pouting lips, you might like the look of this. If you like a grasp of how human beings do things like stand or point guns, or you expect your artist to be able to keep a tattoo consistent from panel to panel (and not, say, change it from a heart to some text and then back again), move along. Likewise, if you want a writer that knows how to use punctuation marks and takes the time to get their foreign languages right, this isn't the comic for you.
Up next is Warlash: Enter the Bladeviper. Now, aside from the title -- which sounds like something my fictional six-year-old nephew would come up with -- this is an improvement over the previous offering. I suppose if you pine for the early days of Image comics, it might do something for you.
Black Powder had potential at first, but then it became painfully obvious that the art is all based on Poser models, apparently with some filters or digital painting layered over top. Poser is a great tool for getting an idea of how the human body would look in a given position, but it's not so hot for sequential art -- everything looks, well, posed. Plus, the facial expressions (particularly the eyes) make everyone look a little shocked, whether they're having a casual conversation or seeing someone stabbed to death before their eyes.
Poser: It's a privilege, not a right.
Finally, we hit something good. The preview of Farmhouse was intriguing enough that I went and downloaded the first issue from the publisher's website -- which I just realized is odd, because the supplemental material all indicates that Farmhouse is supposed to be a graphic novel, not a series of issues.
Anyway, in the preview the art is moody and dark for the most part, but uses brighter, more dynamic colours to good effect at times. The concept, about a guard at an asylum that uses art therapy on its patients, is intriguing, and the scripting doesn't let that down. I'll be looking at the issue I downloaded later on, and if I like it enough I may spring for the whole shebang.
The next preview is also the next-best preview. From what I can tell, EEEK! is a retro horror anthology, à la Eerie or DC's various House... titles. Unlike the rest of the sampler, the art here is all done in black-and-white, which gives it an appropriate atmosphere. The style is more faux-70s-comix than 50s-horror, but it meshes well. Also unlike the other samples, what you get here is a series of two-pagers, each setting up what looks like classic Tales from the Crypt-type stories, from a jealous comic book artist to an unethical realtor scamming the elderly out of their homes. Aside from Farmhouse, this is the most promising piece in the comic.
Penultimately, we come to another title seemingly born out of my nonexistent nephew's fevered brain: Warlash: Zombie Mutant Genesis. This may seem a touch hypocritical coming from someone who contributed to the soundtrack to the Zombie Commandos From Hell! comic, but... do we really need another zombie comic? I'd kind of hoped that dead horse had been sufficiently beaten by now. It's better than the other Warlash preview, at least.
Then there's Undead Evil. Utterly forgettable, unlettered preview. I'm not even sure why it was included, since it's pretty obviously unfinished. I guess they had to fill up those last few pages.
If you find it for free (or download it for free from Wowio, I guess you could flip through it for the Farmhouse and EEEK! previews. But you'd probably be better off just checking those out firsthand.