For those of you who don't know, the first Saturday of May every year is Free Comic Book Day, which has become an unofficial national holiday within the geek community over the last few years. If you have been thinking about participating this year, or if you are wondering what it is, this post might just be for you.
First of all, you might be wondering what Free Comic Book Day even is. In a lot of ways, it is exactly what it sounds like. It is an opportunity for you to go to your local, brick and mortar comic book store and pick up some free books. One thing you need to understand is that the 'free" part only applies to the select free issues, not every book they have in the store.
Each of the major comics publishers will have special issues that are available in limited numbers. This includes Marvel, DC, Image, Valiant, Dark Horse, Dynamite, etc. Usually, the comic book store will have a table or display with the free issues, so you can tell which ones you can pick up for nothing.
The real purpose of this whole, thing, though is to get people to come out and visit the local shops and hopefully buy something in addition to the issues you are picking up for free.
What can you expect? I think the first thing you can expect is big crowds, especially if you go early in the day. A few years ago, the crowds were a lot smaller, but now, expect the stores to be packed. Like, people lined up outside the store waiting for it to open. Comic book collectors go crazy for these free issues, and there will be people that will go from location to the next trying to get specific issues.
Because of the early risers and the big crowds, if you go later in the day, expect that the free issue selection will be picked over. If you are looking for the free Justice League issue or Avengers issue at 4:00 in the afternoon, you are probably going to be disappointed.
You can also expect to be hanging out with some of the coolest people you will ever meety. Geeks love their community. They take pride in the attitude of inclusion and are almost always very welcoming. You will be waiting in line, but expect friendly faces and great conversation. I meet great people every time I go.
You can also expect all sorts of comics for free. Not all comics are written for kids (they haven't been for decades), but not every book is written for the single, grown male living in his mom's basement (that's a stereotype that is almost never accurate). They have comics for all ages, and the free selection usually covers all of it.
So how do you participate in this most magical day of the year? The first thing you need to do is make sure your local shop takes part in Free Comic Book Day. Not every shop does, but most do. Luckily for all of us, there is an awesome Free Comic Book Day web site. On this site, there is an option to find a shop. You type in your zip code, and it will give you a list of shops near you that are doing stuff for FCBD. It also lists which shops are kid friendly (important to me since I will be out with some of my kids). This site also lists which issues will be available. So, you can see which ones you want to try to get. Here's a tip, try something new, something you haven't read before. It's free, so what can it hurt?
Here's another tip- be respectful and polite as you are out there. Some shops are going to have rules that limit how many free books you can take- stick to the rules. Some won't care, but some do. Also, if you can, while you're there, buy something. These little shops depend on our purchases. If you can, help them out.
Whatever you do, have fun. Enjoy it. Events like this are really cool and really connect you to a community, so drink it all in and really enjoy it.
Jake Dietz is a story teller, avid reader, and sometimes writer of stuff. Like on this site. From time to time. He is also a husband and father of six beautiful children. He loves a good story and will take it in any format he can find.
© Jake Dietz 2016-2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jake Dietz with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
Original artwork is ©Samuel Norton 2016.