Loving Free Comics Can Never Be Wrong
May 7, 2011 8:33 AM   Subscribe

Free Comic Book Day is a single day - the first Saturday in May each year - when participating comic book shops across North America and around the world give away comic books absolutely free to anyone who comes into their stores. Here's the store locator.
posted by BlahLaLa (36 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know how availabvle it will be in the US, but the 2000ad FCB issue looks fantastic.
posted by Artw at 8:40 AM on May 7, 2011

I've never gone in on FCBD; I like to think of it as being a gateway experience intended for people who are thinking about getting into comics, rather than a RAH RAH FREE JACKPOT reward for the established audience. But I may go in today. Smurfs!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:45 AM on May 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Stupid question: Do you get to chose the comic, or do they choose?

Either way, the nearest participating location for me is about ten miles away. My kids haven't shown any interest in comics (though I did get the younger The Walking Dead graphic novel compendium and he really enjoyed that), but I'm still considering trekking out there for this.
posted by misha at 8:47 AM on May 7, 2011

We've gone the last few years, and yes, this is more of a gateway experience for comics newbies than a free-for-all for the experienced set. The comic companies print up special editions for today -- but there is usually a good selection for adults and kids. Many shops have other activities going on, too, for a festive atmosphere. Just don't head in expecting to get a specific book you've been looking for.
posted by BlahLaLa at 8:51 AM on May 7, 2011

Now would be an excellent time to pick up a free copy of Atomic Robo. Just sayin'. I mean, it's only an action-packed adventure comic about a robot created by Nikolai Tesla who fights everything from Nazis to interdimensional Lovecraftian horrors, defeating them all with wits, courage and Science. But maybe that's not your thing. Maybe you're like, no, Atomic Robo sounds way too fun, I'm looking for something a little less entertaining. And I'd respond, well, Atomic Robo is actually very clean and clever and contains no profanity, so you could read it to your children and because we all know you secretly resent spending time with them maybe that would be less entertaining. So I understand why you wouldn't want to pick up the free Atomic Robo comic today. It's just too awesome for you. No problem. Dork.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 8:57 AM on May 7, 2011 [6 favorites]

Do you get to chose the comic, or do they choose?

It depends on the store. As mentioned, most stores order the Free Comic Book Day copies to give away; some add comics from their back issue stock to the pile. Some stores will have other things going on as well (raffles, discounts on other stuff in the store ect).

One of the stores here has those goddamn Stormtroopers show up every year.

I generally take the kid later in the afternoon because anything we're interested in is probably a slow mover anyway and the one year I did go early I was stuck behind a couple that was complaining about how slowly the line was moving (keeping them from getting to the next comic shop's free stuff as quickly as possible) the entire time.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 9:12 AM on May 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Whoa, there's even a store participating in my little backwater town. I might stop by.
posted by arcticwoman at 9:15 AM on May 7, 2011

Here in Toronto this year we're doubly lucky because today is also day 1 of the Toronto Comic Arts Festival. :)
posted by sevenyearlurk at 9:22 AM on May 7, 2011

And yesterday was Seized Comic Book Day.

Oh, Border Services, if you had waited just one more sleep, you totally could have gotten free comics the proper way.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:05 AM on May 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

I was all excited about this last year, so I went to my comic book store and got a handful of free comics. Which I still haven't read. Sometimes I feel like I like the idea of comics more than I like comics themselves.
posted by grouse at 10:14 AM on May 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

It is Free Comic Book Day. It is Caturday. Therefore, I give you: DOCTOR CAT
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:26 AM on May 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

posted by The Whelk at 11:37 AM on May 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

I see Free Comic Book Day as also a way to get people back into comic book stores. I think comics are still in a weird place: silly stuff for kids yet the source of blockbuster movies with deeper topics; comic book shops are the land of geeks, even though The Walking Dead and Scott Pilgrim vs The World weren't made just for geeks. But everyone wants freebies, so people might realize that comic book stores have more than comic books (or if they don't, then comic books can cater to any interest).

If you can't get to a shop, there are some special online offerings.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:40 AM on May 7, 2011

It is Free Comic Book Day. It is Caturday. Therefore, I give you: DOCTOR CAT

It bugs me that they didn't title it "Doctor Tinycat."

Yes, lots of things bug me. Why do you ask?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:51 AM on May 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

please note that the comics themselves are not free to the store (albeit very very cheap) so pick something up while you're there!
posted by fillsthepews at 12:36 PM on May 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

I pass a comic book store on a regular basis, This sat. is time to stop in and say hello. maybe meet another MeFi.
posted by taxpayer at 12:39 PM on May 7, 2011

I picked up Atomic Robo based on BitterOldPunk's recommendation and I can confirm that it will only be disliked by the lamest among you. I'm about || <-- that close to going back to the comic shop to buy more Atomic Robo.

(Also I got the Bongo Comics Free For All -- quite good, and a new Sergio story in there; The Tick -- kinda eh; seems like the guy who wrote it was trying too hard?; The Mis-Adventures of Adam West -- this one sucked; I was expecting something wacky and fun, but it's a lame super-hero type genesis story, only the hero is Adam West? And it's all played straight, too. No fun.)

(I also bought way too many comics; I tend to fail at Free Comic Book Day.)
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 12:58 PM on May 7, 2011

...and speaking of following advice/instructions/links, I also just bought myself a copy of the seized-at-the-Canadian-border comic Alvy mentioned! So, there!

(An EC article, work by Michael Kupperman AND an article about Michael O'Donoghue's work?! This is like me all over.)
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 1:08 PM on May 7, 2011

My daughter and I just got back from Source Comics and Games in Minnesota. The free comics were kinda so-so....but while there we picked up Popeye vol 1.

The store had probably 5x more people in there than usual. Probably about a dozen people in costumes. One dude was dressed as Green Lantern and he had the physique for it too. Someone else had a really kick ass Hellboy costume on.
posted by ian1977 at 1:27 PM on May 7, 2011

So that's what Darth Vader and all those Stormtroopers were doing outside my local comic shop.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 1:45 PM on May 7, 2011


This was actually drawn by a Mefite!
posted by leesh at 2:41 PM on May 7, 2011

posted by The Whelk at 2:45 PM on May 7, 2011

That 2000AD one shot FCB Day issue is insane. It's saying something when Judge Dredd is the least violent thing in there (and I'm including the Twinkie parody ad). Also, the Locke & Key freebie was excellent. Gonna add it to my pull lost and get caught up in the trades.
posted by KingEdRa at 2:55 PM on May 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

I went today, and with the help of this very entertaining guide from my pal Glen (who also wrote the #duringthegovernmentshutdown tweets some of you enjoyed), I came home with a haul of the free ones, as well as a couple of things I actually purchased.

Very much a gateway experience for me. I went in, and they were super-nice and friendly, and wore T-shirts that said "SUPER VILLAIN." I freely admit that I bought a Punisher book just because they had a hilarious sign next to it that someone had written with great enthusiasm, going on and on about how much they loved it. It was a great store I would totally visit again just for its cozy loveliness.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 2:59 PM on May 7, 2011

The little comic book store down the block from me does this. My little cousin got a Simpsons comic for me last year, even though I never found the comic books to be even marginally funny and still haven't read it.

I'm not a comic book person. I have walked by the place after they've closed and seen some guys in the middle of a table top RPG inside. That was so adorably nerdy. Now I think I have to check it out soon just for the ambiance.
posted by riruro at 3:20 PM on May 7, 2011

Apparently I should have gone with my gut and picked up the book about robots. Hrm.

I did manage to find the Avatar preview from Dark Horse, though, and I continue to be super-excited for the book to come out in July.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 3:49 PM on May 7, 2011

@Bitteroldpunk: Nice description of Atomic Robo. After having picked up Atomic Robo (think Hellboy, but not so dark, and he's a robot) for three years in a row at FCBD, I'm ready to spring for the collections, so I guess their plan is working, albeit slowly.
posted by mecran01 at 4:26 PM on May 7, 2011

Even though I missed it as it is now Sunday, Free Comic Book Day is a Good Thing and I Support It Fully.
posted by tumid dahlia at 4:42 PM on May 7, 2011

I took my son to Emerald Knights and they could not have been nicer. They answered his questions, showed us the bin of 25c comics, and invited him back to learn how to use his Hero Clicks. And they had the free comic books. Plus free posters, hero clicks, temporary tattoos and even bookmarks. It was a kid's dream come true, and accomplished what I'm sure the folks behind Free Comics Day hoped for: he wants to go back there tomorrow.
posted by BlahLaLa at 5:51 PM on May 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

I got the Simpsons one (Meh) and the Mickey Mouse one (Hurrah!). Could have taken five, but there wasn't any Atomic Robo and the 2000 AD didn't seem to include that Samizdat Squad strip whatsizface writes so I was all 'Bollocks to that!'. Seemed like a pretty steady flow of custom, owner was having a good day and assuaged my guilt for picking up the freebies.

Felt sort of weird for asking if Paying For It was out while the young mom and her daughter were standing beside me in line.

Bought Louis Riel instead.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 6:59 PM on May 7, 2011

Boo! posted a day too late for Australia. Calendared for next year though so, Yay!
posted by unliteral at 7:13 PM on May 7, 2011

I haven't been to a comic shop in ages and I went in for FCBD. all they had left that I wanted was Spider-Man and the Thor/Captain America team-up. Both entertaining
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:19 PM on May 7, 2011

Took the boys to Impact Comics in Canberra - they scored The Dark Crystal, Mouse Guard, Green Lantern, Mickey Mouse and a couple of others.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 2:33 AM on May 8, 2011

Went later in the day to Zanadu in downtown Seattle- most of the free comic books were gone, accept for that horrible, horrible D&D comic. Did anyone pick that up? What a terrible way to introduce someone to rpgs.

My lady-friend, who had never even been to a comic shop before, left with a handful of interesting paid-for indie comics from the late 90s that were quite fascinating. Their scheme is working!
posted by kittensofthenight at 4:06 PM on May 8, 2011

Disclaimer: I own two comic shops so am very biased about comic-related FPPs!

That said, yes shops pay for the feebies (20¢ - 40¢ each roughly, depending on the publisher) and yes we buy literally thousands of comics per store to give away... we want to get you hooked - the first one's free! We order some of ALL Free Comic Book day comics offered by the publishers, put them on a table so you can check them all out and let every single person pick three to keep ABSOLUTELY FREE! We also run a food drive for the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank - for each food item donated, you can pick an extra free comic book! If you donate 20 cans of soup or whatever, you get 23 comics! We also have sales, Star Wars characters, guest artists, and lollipops - it's a fun day! Every store does it differently, so check with your local shop. This year was the tenth year for Free Comic Book day, and every year it gets a bigger turnout!

(Joe Field of Flying Colors Comics in California originated the idea of Free Comic Book Day, which he came up with after observing Baskin Robbins Ice Cream shops holding a "Free Scoop Day" once a year, where all patrons could get a free ice cream cone at the beginning of the season!)

Anyway, if you are not a comic fan, it's a perfect day to sample comic books at NO COST. How many things are free nowadays?
posted by Ron Thanagar at 6:03 AM on May 9, 2011

Guess I picked the wrong Saturday to not read MeFi. And just when Berkeley made the jump from 0 to 2 comic book stores...
posted by Zed at 3:45 PM on May 9, 2011

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