Held on the first Saturday of May, this year being the 7th of May, Free Comic Book Day is one of the most exciting days of the comics calendar. Sort of like a comic book Christmas, it’s an opportunity for people to come together and celebrate the medium. You’re welcome to join in. It doesn’t matter if you’re brand new to comics or have been reading them for years.
As the name suggests, free comics are involved. All you need to do is show up at a participating comic book store or location on the day and collect special Free Comic Book Day releases.
Many comic book shops celebrate the day by turning it into a big event. Before the pandemic, there would be parties, big sales, artists doing sketches, creator signings, cosplay competitions, and other wonderful activities. It was heaps of fun and fantastic to see people of all ages having a great time.
Considering we’re still in a pandemic, this year’s festivities may be scaled back depending on where you are in the world. Some stores might not go as all out as they did in previous years for customer safety. Others might opt to take it online.
Please respect any covid-safety practices if you go to an event. While it might be annoying to wear a mask or socially distance, it’s way better than getting sick.
Finding your closest Free Comic Book Day event is as easy as heading to the Free Comic Book Day website. Simply enter your zip code into the search bar. (If you’re outside of North America, there’s also a dedicated search.) You can use it to check out participating store profiles, see what’s happening on the day, and other information such as their opening hours.
In previous years, I’ve noticed that the store listings can be a little bare or are not up-to-date when detailing the activities. Here are a few methods to find out what’s going on:
- Check out the store’s website. It’s also a good way of confirming the address, opening hours, parking, covid-safety practices, and public transport information.
- Check out the store’s Facebook page. Most have one and probably have an event set up too. It’s a great way to keep up with information and any last-minute changes.
- Give the store a call during business hours in the days leading up to Free Comic Book Day.
While it’s called “Free Comic Book Day”, not every comic in the shop is free. (That’s a great way to go out of business!) Each year there is a selection of special comics from participating publishers. Each is different, offering a mix of accessible reprints and original stories made just for the special day.
This year there are 46 comics to choose from. Some include:
- Dog Man
- Doctor Who
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
- Donald Duck
- The Walking Dead
- Kaiju No.8
- Fuzzy Baseball
You can find all of the participating titles here. In most cases, you can read a short preview of the comics. This will give you a good taste of what’s on offer and make it easier to decide what comics you want.
It’s also worth noting that titles have age ratings. According to the FCBD website, the Free Comic Book Day logos on the page are colour-coded for different age groups.
- Green is All-Ages. These are comics that are appropriate for kids.
- Blue is Teen(+). These are comics made for ages 13 and older.
- Red is Mature. These are comics for adults.
Most comic book shops will stock all of the titles. However, it’s generally first-come, first-serve, so some comics may go quick. As a result, there may be a limit to how many comics you can get for free. While each shop is different, Some will allow you to get more free comics if you purchase something.
Keep in mind that even though the comic books are free for customers, they cost the shop money to order them. So make sure you give them a big thank you and maybe even buy something.
Don’t stress if you can’t make it on the day. Many shops will offer free comics on their online stores. Additionally, many publishers will make the comics available for free digitally – either on the day or a few days later.
Finally, the most important thing to remember about Free Comics Book Day is to have fun. Bring along family and friends and join in the festivities. Mingle with like-minded individuals (in a covid-safe manner) and discover some fantastic new comics!