Free Comic Book Day. It’s coming. It’s only a few days away. Are you ready?
Around this time every year since 2002, the comics industry begins talking up FCBD. In fact, many of you that go to your local comic shops week in and week out likely receive your purchases in plastic bags that promote the coming event. FCBD is celebrated at any participating independent comic book specialty shop on the first Saturday in May, which this year happens to be May 1, and it’s an important day for everyone in the industry, including you the reader.
Why? Firstly, it provides opportunity for new readers to dive in. Those that may be unsure about the medium and on the fence about spending money on something they might not like – there’s no excuse. It’s free. Sure, some shops may limit how many free books you can take, but regardless, if you walk in your local shop you’ll be walking out with something. It’s also a great opportunity for you nerds to get your friends into comics. Walking into a comic shop for the first time, even when stuff is free, can be a scary thing for whatever reason. Use this opportunity to show them how awesome comic books are.
Secondly, it helps the independent retailers. FCBD provides an opportunity for shops to have sales, bring in new customers, have talent signings, and create an integral community event while promoting their business. You’ll often find costume contests, volunteer organizations and bake sales at some of the small town shops that really go all out on FCBD.
Third, this is a stellar opportunity to get kids to read. Whether they are your own kids, your siblings, or just the kids you babysit, this a perfect opportunity to take them to the shop and let them pick out some visually appealing books that they are interested in reading. Comics are the perfect tool for introducing kids to the written word, with visual storytelling in tow. Best of all, nearly all of the books that are released on FCBD are kid-friendly.
And lastly, FCBD is an opportunity for publishers to promote. You’ll often find the smaller press indie publishers using FCBD to provide a sampler issue that gives bits and pieces of the different things their books have to offer. Major publishers like DC use FCBD to launch big events, as they did last year with Blackest Night and this year with War of the Supermen. There’s a vast range of opportunity for publishers large and small to put their best foot forward and try and gain new readership while giving a treat to longtime readers.
I can’t stress how important Free Comic Book Day is to all aspects of the comic book industry, so please: this Saturday, May 1, venture to your nearest comic book retailer and pick up your free comics. Which leads me to: exactly what books will be available come Saturday?
On to the comics!
War of the Supermen #0
What was poised to be a major Superman event was turned into a one-month long crossover event, but regardless: it all begins on FCBD!
DC Kids Mega-Sampler
The perfect kind of thing to help kids kick the reading bug into high gear, the Kids Mega-Sampler from DC includes stories from their kid-centric lines like Tiny Titans, Batman: Brave and the Bold, Billy Batson & The Magic of Shazam! and Super Friends.
Somewhat predictably, Marvel’s FCBD output is entirely centered around Iron Man 2, but that doesn’t mean it’s not appealing. Particularly Iron Man/Thor, which is written by Invincible Iron Man and future Thor scribe Matt Fraction with art from the legendary John Romita Jr. Sweet.
Iron Man: Supernova
A brand new one-shot Iron Man/Nova team-up story. Marvel’s promising super apes, so I’m sold. Super apes + zero dollars = in my hands.
Marvel Heroclix: War Machine
As a special bonus, Marvel is also giving out a Free Comic Book Day exclusive Heroclix figure of Warmachine.
Valiant Comics is back on FCBD it seems, as Jim Shooter returns to the characters he revamped from Gold Key Comics back in the day. These are brand new stories, so you Valiant fans: set your alarm on Saturday. This will go fast amongst the nerds.
Fractured Fables Preview
Artifacts: First Look
Artifacts is an enormous 13-issue event series that takes place in amongst the Top Cow universe, factoring in predominant items like the Darkness, the Witchblade, Angelus, and my personal favorite, Magdalena’s Spear of Destiny. Top Cow’s giving us a sneak peek at this huge event, and promises that Artifacts will reveal the rest of the Top Cow Universe’s powerful… well, artifacts.
GI Joe: A Real American Hero #155 1/2
Giving us the next issue of a series that was canned about 15 years ago, this is the kind of thing I love for FCBD. A book that we probably would never ever see otherwise. Well played, IDW.
Library of American Comics #0
IDW recently announced its acquiring of some classic comic strips for collection purposes, and they are previewing their goldmine on FCBD. Such classic strip comics as Blondie, Little Orphan Annie, Dick Tracy, and Archie all make appearances here.
Mouse Guard/Fraggle Rock Flip Book
Mouse Guard. Fraggle Rock. ‘Nuff said.
Drawn & Quarterly
YOW! The John Stanley Library
A bunch of hilarious tales featuring characters from the wonderful John Stanley library, you say? From Drawn & Quarterly, you say? For free, you say? I’ll make that deal.
Oni Press Free-for-All #1
Samples of The Crogan Adventures, Salt Water Taffy and Possessions are all included in this all-ages sampler from Oni Press.
The Sixth Gun #1
Civil War, ancient all-powerful gun, badass gunfighter, and free: all reasons you should pick up The Sixth Gun this Saturday.
It’s Riverdale vs. Pembrooke at a summer beach music festival. What’s not to love?
Sonic the Hedgehog
Archie Comics is bringing everyone’s favorite blue hedgehog back to the forefront on FCBD as he faces off against Dr. Eggman (Robotnick to the old fogies).
BOOM! Kids has been extremely successful with their adaptations of Disney/Pixar properties, and with Toy Story 3 coming this summer, they are jumping aboard that train as well. Bring your kids!
Weathercraft: A Frank Comic
Worlds of Aspen
Green Hornet #1
The Tick #1
Top Shelf Productions
Owly and Friends
A great all-ages sampler from the wonderful Top Shelf featuring names like James Kochalka and Andy Runton.
Shrek & The Penguins of Madagascar
Fearless Dawn Sampler
Radical: Bigger Books, Better Value!
SE Hinton/Lady Gaga/Fame
Red 5 Comics
Atomic Robo and Friends
Bongo Comics Free-for-All
Del Rey Comics
Del Rey Showcase
The Overstreet Guide to Collecting Comics
Love and Capes #13
I’ve never even heard of this. But that’s the point! Finding new things. So, consider this on my list of things to grab.
Freedom Formula: A Speed Metal Overtures #0
It looks like Freedom Formula will be a huge hit with boys ages 8-10, judging from the badass vehicles, shiny metal objects and high octane action. This might be a good one to put in your little brother’s hands.
Th3rd World Studios
The Stuff of Legend: Mortal Instruments Preview
Another nice little sampler from a publisher I know next to nothing about.
That wraps it up, folks! I can’t say it enough: venture out to Free Comic Book Day at your local shop, and be sure to write us and let us know about your experience, especially if its your first time!