Free Comic Book Day which has been dated to the first Saturday in the month of May is an annual promotional effort by the North American comic book industry to help bring new readers into independent comic book stores. Every local comic book store approaches Free Comic Book Day a little bit differently. Some have even transformed the event into a mini-convention, offering tables for local artists to sell their work and invite creators to sign their own issues.
Legend Comics & Coffee has used the holiday as an opportunity to raise funds for Make-A-Wish, and many other great stores have created similar opportunities to promote good causes. Whether it’s a special guest appearance, carnival games, or something else altogether, each Free Comic Book Day celebration provides something that makes it unique.
Free Comic Book Day History: How it all Started
In the year 2001, Joe Field, a comic book retailer observed the success of feature films based on comic book and noticed a positive cultural and financial turnaround from the speculator bust of the late 1990s. Being a columnist for an industry magazine he proposed the idea of Free Comic Book Day in one of his columns, and received positive reaction to it. Then-Image Comics publisher Jim Valentino suggested having the first Free Comic Book Day on the same weekend as the opening of the 2002 Spider-Man feature film, in order to take advantage of the film’s heavy promotion and related press about the comic book medium, and thus the first event was held May 4, 2002, one day after the film’s opening. Because of the failure to arrange the upcoming Free Comic Book Day events corresponded with the release of a film based on a comic book, it was moved back to the first Saturday in May the following year and has been held on that day ever since.
In order to push this thing, comic book store retailers give away specially printed copies of free comic books on the first time it was held, and some offer special deals and creator signings to those visiting their establishments. However, retailers do not receive the issues for free; they pay 12–50 cents per copy for the comics they give away during the event. In addition to comic books, some stores also give away other merchandise, such as mini posters and other movie tie-in memorabilia.
Best Titles to Get Your Hands on This Free Comic Book Day
- Avengers/Captain America and Amazing Spider-Man (Marvel)
- Daredevil: Frank Miller
- DC Super Hero Girls (DC Comics)
- Ghost World (Fantagraphics Books)
- Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Special: Shattered Grid (Boom Studios)
- Barrier (Image)
- Transmetropolitan (DC/Vertigo/Helix)
- Doctor Who (Titan)
- Hellblazer (DC/Vertigo)
- Overwatch/Black Hammer (Dark Horse)
- Transformers: Unicron #0 (IDW)
- Watchmen (DC/Vertigo)
- Riverdale (Archie Comics)
- 2000AD Regened (Rebellion)
- Essex County (Top Shelf Productions)
- Legend of Korra and Nintendo’s ARMS (Dark Horse)
- Shadow Roads #1 (Oni Press)
- The Killing Joke (DC Entertainment)
- My Hero Academia/RWBY (Viz Media)
- Star Wars Adventures (IDW)