Scoop Up This Free Comic on Saturday


Free Comic Book Day is this Saturday, and among the many freebies available at your local shop is the SuperMutant Magic Academy/Step Aside, Pops! combo from Drawn and Quarterly. The book, boasting dual covers, features samples from Kate Beaton (of the wildly popular webcomic and book Hark! A Vagrant) and Jillian Tamaki of Skim and This One Summer (for which she won the Caldecott Award in February). 

Beaton’s strips draw inspiration from literary figures and real history, while Tamaki's specialty is bringing the weird and wonderful adolescent experience to life. Both women have large (and well-deserved) followings that are still growing, so take advantage of this opportunity to get to know them for free.

Beaton's title for her half of the anthology, Step Aside, Pops!, as well as her cover character, originated on Hark! A Vagrant. Beaton writes:

The greatest thing about the invention of the bicycle and ladies starting to ride them is: everything. The clothes! The bikes! The attitude! But perhaps especially: the scads of satirical cartoons made at the time that were supposed to make women look shocking and inappropriate but just makes them look super stylish and badass instead.

That sentiment perfectly captures the spirit behind Beaton’s work (as does her note that “velocipedestrienne” is an actual word and not something she made up). The full Step Aside, Pops! volume is out in September.

All of Tamaki’s SuperMutant Magic Academy is available now (the book was released April 28th, but it also began as a webcomic). Tamaki's tale, about a prep school for mutants and witches, happens to be a perfect companion piece for Step Aside, Pops!—thanks to the paranormal happenings inside the academy, the angst, humor, sorrow and general weirdness of teenage life are made even weirder.

Not every retailer has every free comic book, so a word to the wise: Call around to see which of your local shops has the Beaton/Tamaki combo. You’ll be glad you did.