Free Comic Book Day is This Saturday!
This Saturday is the very first Saturday in May, which means it is Free Comic Book Day, the industry-invented holiday devoted to promoting the comic book business and reaching out to new readers by…well, it’s right there in the name, isn’t it?
This year marks the 15th annual Free Comic Book Day, which was first observed in May of 2002 to coincide with the release of the first Spider-Man film. In the decade and a half since, films based on comic books have become so ubiquitous as to stop seeming like special occasions, and FCBD has long since stopped trying to ride the media coattails of summer superhero movies. (There is a new superhero movie opening this weekend, of course, but that’s more or less coincidental, as FCBD has been observed on the first Saturday of May every year since 2005.)
As per usual, participating comic book shops will be giving away comics specifically packaged and/or produced by participating publishers for the event, in the hopes of getting would-be readers through their doors, and, ideally, coming back each Wednesday until the next Free Comic Book Day. To find your local comic shop, you can use the handy comic shop locator at Diamond Comics Distributors’s FCBD site. And since not every shop participates, and each one that does participate does so in a way of their own choosing, it will be a good idea to call ahead and ask your nearest shop ahead of time.
The specific Free Comic Book Day comics are quite often books meant to appeal to as wide and as general an audience as possible, which typically—but not always—means they will be targeted toward a kid-friendly, all-ages audience. If you’re getting comics for a kid, you’ll want to make sure you get a comic or comics appropriate for said kid’s age range. You can find a list of this year’s comics, along with previews, here.
Here are a few suggestions for good comics for kids, though:
All-New Guardians of the Galaxy #1 features a story starring the space-faring heroes with a new movie in theaters this weekend, by the creators of the latest GOTG ongoing monthly, Gerry Duggan, Aaron Kuder, and Ive Svorcina, as well as a back-up story introducing the line-up of the new Defenders series, inspired by the (decidedly adult) suite of inter-connected Netflix shows. The comic, however, is geared towards teens.
Colorful Monsters is publisher Drawn and Quarterly’s welcome contribution, a 64-page all-ages compilation featuring work from late, great cartoonists like Tove Jansson (Moomin) and Shigeru Mizuki (Kitaro), the still-living and also great Anouk Ricard (Anna & Froga), and Elise Gravel (the writer/artist responsible for the Disgusting Critters series of picture books, and the upcoming If Found…Please Return to Elise Gravel). More than any other of this year’s kid-friendly offerings, this one offers the best gateway into comics from around the world and from several generations, although all the stories are vital and relevant enough that they will speak directly to the youngest American readers.
DC Superhero Girls: Summer Olympus Preview is an excerpt of the latest Shea Fontana and Yancy Labat original graphic novel, based on the world of the Mattel toy line. If their first two OGNs are any indication, this one should be a good read for superhero fans of any age (or gender).
Hilda’s Back features Luke Pearson’s Hilda, the blue-haired little girl who has starred in his series of Hilda and… graphic albums, having sprawling adventures often featuring encounters with trolls and other supernatural creatures and characters.
The Legend of Zelda: The Twilight Princess and The Ocarina of Time features excerpts of the manga adaptations of the two Zelda games in the title, both by the manga team known as Akira Himekawa. Teenage manga fans may also want to check out the Jodi Houser/Emi Lennox Attack On Titan and Dragonball Super and Boruto, featuring excerpts of the latest manga incarnations of two beloved manga mega-hits.
SpongeBob Freestyle Funnies is basically the same great comic that United Plankton Pictures releases monthly, only for free, with a who’s who of some of the best cartoonists working in the field today telling silly stories featuring a particularly porous protagonist. The remarkable thing about the SpongeBob monthly? One need not even be a fan of the show (or to have ever even seen it) to appreciate the work of talents like James Kochalka, R. Sikoryak, and others.
Wonder Woman Special Edition #1 features a reprinting of the first chapter of Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott’s “Wonder Woman: Year One” origin story from the recently rebooted title, geared toward the typical DC Comics teen readership range. It’s probably not the best place for a young reader interested in Wonder Woman to start (I’d suggest Renae De Liz’s Legend of Wonder Woman graphic novel), but it’s a good place to start for free this weekend.
Filed under: All Ages
About J. Caleb Mozzocco
J. Caleb Mozzocco is a way-too-busy freelance writer who has written about comics for online and print venues for a rather long time now. He currently contributes to Comic Book Resources' Robot 6 blog and ComicsAlliance, and maintains his own daily-ish blog at EveryDayIsLikeWednesday.blogspot.com. He lives in northeast Ohio, where he works as a circulation clerk at a public library by day.
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