Whether you’re an avid comic book reader, a fan of superhero movies and television, or just curious about what the fuss over comics and graphic novels are, this Saturday is a day for you.
Free Comic Book Day, the first Saturday in May, is one of my favorite days of the year. Sadly, I can’t attend any of this year’s festivities because we’re hosting family from out-of-town. But that doesn’t mean you have to miss out.
What is Free Comic Book Day, you ask?
The first FCBD was held in 2002. And in the last 12 years, it’s grown and sparked a nationwide movement around comics and literacy. This year, Diamond Comics Distributors estimates 2,000+ shops will be giving away more than 4.6 million free comics in one day.
Archie, Hello Kitty, GI Joe, Batman, Rocket Raccoon and The Guardians of the Galaxy will all be in attendance — as well as a bunch of comics you may not know about, but should be reading. Over 60 titles are represented in this year’s haul.
USA Today has an awesome primer on which Free Comic Book Day books to read, based on your non-comic tastes.
However, Free Comic Book Day is about more than reading comics. It also spotlights your local comic book shops and the incredible community these brick-and-mortar small businesses build.
Sure, you can just find your local shop using the FCBD store locator, pick up your free books on Saturday, and leave.
But that misses the point of FCBD, in my opinion.
Instead, stick around for a few minutes or a few hours. Talk to the other comic book fans and the shop’s staff if they’re available. Take part in any of the day’s activities that the store has planned – many of them do. You’ll learn a lot and meet the nicest, coolest people.
My local shop, Comics Are Go in Elyria, will have Cleveland artist John G signing copies of “The Lake Erie Monster.” It’s a fantastic comic (read my review here). Even if you aren’t into comics, you’re likely familiar with John and his work, as the artist of Melt’s monthly special posters.
Carol and John’s will be hosting not one, but two parties for Free Comic Book Day. Their annual Midnight Early Release party starts at 10 pm on Friday and goes til 2 am on Saturday. They’ll have free comic books (10 per person), free graphic novels, photo ops (including this TARDIS!), rewards for costumes, free sketches, food and drink including a special FCBD micro brew from Cleveland Action Brewery.
The day event goes from 10am til 7pm. Mark Sumerak will be autographing 200 free copies of his book Franklin Richards Son of a Genius. There will also be free sketches for kids and the live creation of a mural by the Rust Belt Monster Collective.
You can read all about Carol and John’s event here. They’ve also distributed comics to every single branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library for Saturday.
For other shops and FCBD events closer to where you live, check out Michael Sangiacomo’s column on Cleveland.com.