So as part of what we do around here at times the What’cha Reading crew will dabble in subscription boxes, to see if they’re all they’re cracked up to be. We’ve reviewed Brick Loot, the monthly “Lego” box and Hero Crate, which is pretty self-explanatory, and both times we were unimpressed. The consensus seems to be that if you’re a fan of something, a true fan, you can probably spend your money better yourself than entrust a box company to send you stuff you wouldn’t/couldn’t get on your own.
Comic Bento blew that theory away with just one box.
To be upfront when we were at New Jersey Comic Expo in November (11/23/2015) Comic Bento had a booth. I had spoken to them at NYCC previously but due to the nature of that show it was hard to really sit down and talk. At NJCE we were able to talk at length with Jeff Moss (Director of Communications – Comic Bento Support) about the service, the company, and of course a whole lot about comics.
Jeff really sold the idea that Comic Bento is focused on bringing comics that you may not have seen, heard of, or thought to try to every reader they can reach. And that focus to “curate” not just fill a box with random junk seems completely genuine. Imagine if the cool people at your local comic shop were able to hand you $60 worth of trades, once a month, for $17.50.
Now if you’re at all like me your first thought is something like c’mon what could they really come up with that I’d want, that I haven’t already bought? Here’s what came in the box we were sent (please note we requested a box for review.)
The collection, called Throwbacks, consisted of four pretty damn awesome titles…
Youngblood: Volume 1 Focus Tested – from Image Comics ($9.99)
The 2008 relaunch of the classic YOUNGBLOOD from 1990 Image Comics. Written by Joe Casey with art from Derec Donovan, and a forward from Robert Kirkman. At first glance this looks a damn site better than the YOUNBLOOD I remember from my youth, and with Joe Casey (Man of Action Studios) having written it the story should rock. This is a first printing of the graphic novel so finding it in your local shop might prove difficult. My quick search found one or two for sale, all marked used, on ebay.
Battlestar Galactica: Volume 1 Memorial – from Dynamite ($19.99)
The original Battlestar with Apollo, Starbuck, Commander Adama, and the rest of the rag-tag fugitive fleet! Written by Andy Lanning (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Dan Abnett (Guardians of the Galaxy) with Cezar Razek (Red Sonja) supplying the art. Razek really brings the original cast to the page beautifully and Abnett and Lamming can write epic team books all day long. If you were a fan of the original series (as I was) this is a no brainer.
The Fifth Beatle – The Brian Epstein Story – from Dark Horse ($49.99 )
I’m going to go out on a limb and say you’ve heard of this one already. Heck if you’re a reader of this site you probably saw the review (All You Need Is Love Part II: The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story; The Graphic Novel Review – November 20, 2013) Here’s a snippet from staff writer Juan Carlos Pineda’s review…
The Fifth Beatle is a fantastic, touching and great read. There’s a strong message that is being delivered without being preachy but it has to be delivered. We’ve come a long way in regards to equality but there’s still a lot if work to do. The Beatles’ message of love still rings true and loud 50 years later, you just have to add your voice to it. Vivek and Robinson have and its…fab!
Written by Vivek J. Tiwary with Pencils from Andrew C. Robinson, Kyle Baker this book made a huge splash in the comic and literary world. It still sells at or above cover for this gorgeous hardcover. And it was sent still in the shrink wrap.
Just by my quick math we’re at $80 dollars (okay $79.97 but don’t be so nit-picky) and there’s still one more trade to go…
I saved this one for last because of how great it truly is. Volume 2 collects Tales of Suspense numbers 51 – 65, almost all of which were written by Stan Lee (numbers 52 & 53 were written by Don Rico) and pencilled by Don Heck. Man this is classic comics at its best! Stories featuring such villains as; The Crimson Dynamo, Black Widow, The Mandarin, Hawkeye! In all their four-color glory! I don’t own enough of these trades, I need to start collecting them, not just for me but to force my kids to read so they understand where comics began.
So obviously the monetary value is there. Even if you signed up for the one month at a time subscription that would run you $20 which is the cost of almost any trade in a bookstore (comic book shops tend to discount older trades) and buying older trades online is hit or miss quality wise.
I think this box is a good bet. So much so that we reached out to Comic Bento and asked to join the affiliate program. That’s a pretty big deal around here, we’ve only bothered with affiliate status once before, with Amazon, and we let that lapse because honestly we’d rather link to comic shop locator or comixology. Comic Bento really seems genuine. And just to put a pin in whether or not receiving the review box may have swayed our opinion? We’re giving these books away. Yup. All four of them. (details on giveaways later this week)
Need more info on the operation? Check out Moss’s AMA on reddit! He answers a whole bunch of questions.
** editor’s note: The above link contains our referral code, if you would prefer a referral free link please use this link comibento.com instead.