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Best Comic Books Ever (This Week): New Releases for August 10 2016

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The question most often asked of the ComicsAlliance staff is a variation of, “Which comic books should I be reading?” or, “I’m new to comics, what’s a good place to start?” The Wednesday deluge of new comic books, graphic novels and collected editions can be daunting even for the longtime reader, much less for those totally unfamiliar with creators, characters and publishers, and the dark mysteries of comic book shopping like variants, pre-ordering, and formats.

It’s with these challenges in mind that we’ve created Best Comic Books Ever (This Week), an ongoing guide curated by the ComicsAlliance staff. This is where new comics readers and seasoned Wednesday shoppers alike can find our picks of the best books the medium has to offer.

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Best Comic Books Ever: Free Comic Book Day 2016 Edition

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Best Comic Books Ever (This Week) is our weekly guide to the best new comics in stores, but today we're taking a special look at the best free comics on offer at this year's Free Comic Book Day on Saturday 7 May.

Free Comic Book Day is an annual event in which publishers offer readers a chance to pick up free comics and samplers at local comic book stores. To find a participating store near you visit FreeComicBookDay.com. Most stores will only let you pick up a limited number of free comics, so that there are enough to go around, so here are our recommendations of the cream of the crop.

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New SpongeBob Annual Stars Golden Age Cartoonist Fletcher Hanks’ Stardust The Super Wizard (Sort Of)

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In putting together this summer's superhero-themed SpongeBob Comics Annual-Size Super-Giant Swimtacular #2, United Plankton Pictures dug deep and left-of-center for inspiration and riff material. How deep, and how left-of-center? Well, the book includes, "I Shall Destroy All The Civilized Planktons!", a rather meticulously assembled homage to the work of Golden Age oddball artist Fletcher Hanks and his Stardust The Super-Wizard, by Paul Karasik and R. Sikoryak.

That story follows a few featuring more traditional targets of parody, like a Western-themed story starring SpongeBob regular Mermaid Man, who is basically just Silver Age Aquaman with sea shells over his nipples and a starfish in the middle of his face, and another in which Squidward becomes Batman parody the Squishy Knight and SpongeBob becomes "Multi-Purpose Sponge, the hero with a different costume in every panel" (which allows for panel after panel of SpongeBob dressed as various Marvel and DC superheroes).

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‘Mighty Morphin Power Rangers,’ ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ And ‘Hello Kitty’ Among Free Comic Book Day 2014 Offerings

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From the looks of what Diamond Comic Distributors has release so far, Free Comic Book Day 2014 on May 3, will once again be a most family-friendly affair.

Diamond unveiled what it's calling its "gold-level title" list today, 12 books from publishers including DC Comics, Marvel, Image, Archie, Dark Horse, Viz Media, Bongo Comics, Boom! Studios and Fantagraphics. The fare is almost all kid-friendly stuff, with Hello Kitty, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Spongebob Squarepants, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, and Uncle Scrooge comics all on tap.

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