Free Comic Book Day is Tomorrow – Preview a Few Offered Titles


By: Jonathan Pilley (@omnicomic)

Saturday, May 6th, is normally a calm day with a few historical exceptions. For instance, on May 6th, 1934, the Red Sox scored 12 runs in the fourth inning (including a record four consecutive triples). On May 6th, 1957, CBS aired the last broadcast of I Love Lucy. And there are a slew of other major events sprinkled throughout history on that day as well, including one yet to occur in Free Comic Book Day on May 6th, 2017! The annual event is a great celebration of geek culture, involving 2,300 comic book shops around the world giving out nearly six million comic books for free.

“This year’s selection of free comics is incredible,” said Free Comic Book Day spokesperson Michael Moccio. “There’s truly something for everyone, whether they’re a newcomer to comics or have been reading them for years. This is the perfect opportunity to discover new titles and celebrate the medium that’s inspired some of our favorite television shows and movies.”

“On May 6th, we encourage fans to use Free Comic Book Day as an opportunity to explore their local comic book shop and all it has to offer,” Moccio said. “Hopefully, everyone will walk away with free comics they can’t wait to read and then continue to return to their local shop for more fun events throughout the year!”

Check out the list of what will be available:

Gold Comics

Archie ComicsBetty & Veronica #1
Bongo ComicsBongo Comics Free-For-All
Boom! StudiosBoom! Studios Summer Blast
Dark Horse ComicsJames Cameron’s Avatar/Briggsland
DC ComicsDC Comics Gold Book: Wonder Woman #1 Special Edition
IDW PublishingStar Trek: The Next Generation: Mirror Broken
Image ComicsI Hate Image Comics
Marvel ComicsSecret Empire
Oni PressRick and Morty #1
Titan ComicsDoctor Who: Four Doctors Special
Valiant EntertainmentX-O Manowar Special
Viz MediaThe Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess & Ocaraina of Time

Silver Comics

Action LabMiraculous Illus Tales Of Lady Bug And Cat Noir
American MythologyUnderdog
Antarctic PressSteam Wars: Strike Leader
Archie ComicsSonic: Genesis of a Hero
Automatic PublishingLooking Glass Wars: Crossfire
Benitez ProductionsLady Mechanika
BOOM! StudiosFresh Off The Boat
ChapterhouseCaptain Canuck: Year One
Dark Horse ComicsBuffy: The High School Years/Plants Vs. Zombies
DC ComicsDC Super Hero Girls Summer Olympus Preview
Drawn & QuarterlyGuy Deslisle & Findakly/Trondheim Previews
Drawn & QuarterlyColorful Monsters
Dynamite EntertainmentAnimal Jam
Epicenter ComicsTex: Patagonia
Fantagraphics PublishingWorld’s Greatest
HumanoidsThe Incal
IDW PublishingTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Prelude to Dimension X
Image ComicsKid Savage
KodanshaAttack on Titan
Lion Forge ComicsCatalyst Prime: The Event
Marvel ComicsAll New Guardians of the Galaxy #1
New England Comics PressThe Tick
NobrowHilda’s Back!
Oni PressBad Machinery
PapercutzThe Loud House
Rebellion2000 AD 40th Anniversary Special
Red 5 ComicsKeyzer Soze/The Rift
ScholasticGraphix Spotlight: Time Shifters
Titan ComicsMonster High
TokyopopDisney Descendants
Udon EntertainmentStreet Fighters Vs. Wrestlers Special #1
UnitedSpongebob Freestyle Funnies
Viz MediaDragon Ball Super/Boruto
Youneek StudiosMalika: Warrior Queen
Z2 ComicsThe Ballad Of Franklin Bonniesteel
Zenoscope EntertainmentGrimm Fairy Tales

Now that you’ve gotten a look at the list, what should you aim to pick up? Well, if this is your first FCBD, you should know the difference between Gold and Silver books. Comic book stores have to pay for all the FCBD issues they display and they pay a little more for the Gold books. That means that, typically, you can only grab one Gold book and a couple of Silvers at comic shops.

Gold books usually come from the bigger publishers. This year, these include Marvel’s Secret Empire #1, Valiant Entertainment’s X-O Manowar Special, and Archie Comics’ Betty and Veronica #1 (a personal fave). You have to go into a shop knowing that you might not get your first (or any) Gold choice. All copies may already have been claimed or the shop simply didn’t order any copies of that particular book.

The one minor knock with the Gold books is that since they are coming from bigger publishers, usually the content is not really anything new. For instance, Marvel is tying into their larger Secret Empire initiative with Secret Empire #1. Books like these will likely still be good books, but they’re not really showcasing the full breadth of what comics have to offer. Now the Silver Books are where a lot of the hidden gems are.

These are books from smaller and independent publishers, but the list definitely has some books that act bigger than they actually are. Buffy: The High School Years/Plants vs. Zombies (Dark Horse Comics), Lady Mechanika (Aspen Comics), The Tick (New England Comics), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Prelude to Dimension X (IDW Comics), Miraculous Illus Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir (Action Lab Entertainment), Riverdale (Archie Comics), and Grimm Fairy Tales #1 (Zenescope) are just a few of the books that you might find some interest in. All of the aforementioned Silver books (and all Silver books, really) are a bit bolder, so to speak, when it comes to FCBD.

Beyond the comics, talent will represent many of the publishers at various stores throughout the country. The great thing about FCBD is that not every signing takes place at Midtown Comics in New York City or Meltdown Comics in Los Angeles. No, on FCBD, talent is everywhere. If you’ve got a favorite writer/penciler/inker/letterer/cover artist, check the website of one the publishers they usually work for. There’s a good chance that they’ll be at a comic book store somewhere in the country for at least a few hours.

One of the most important things to remember about FCBD is that the local comic shops are taking a gamble on the day. Running a comic shop and ordering comics via the Diamond Distribution Model is something of a year-round gamble in terms of anticipating supply and demand, but in the case of FCBD, the store owners have more to lose. Since they pay for each copy of the free comics, they’re not getting anything back financially. That means that readers can come in, grab hundreds of free comics over the course of the day, and the owner is out that money.

Granted, the cost of free comics is usually cheaper compared to that of regular releases, but the fact still remains that the owner is out some money. That’s where you – the reader – comes in. Usually, stores participating in FCBD will also be offering sales on some of their merchandise. Owners are relying on the FCBD browsers to maybe also grab a graphic novel or two. Or some action figures or posters. Even newly released comics for the week will do! The point is, if you buy something to go with your free comics, you’re doing both the comic book shop and industry a big solid.

FCBD 2017 will have a lot going on. There will be free books, of course, but there will also be talent signings, festivities, cosplaying, the 501st Legion at some spots, and a good possibility of sales. If you head out to get some books, enjoy the atmosphere. It’s one of the few days a year where comics get the full spotlight and we have to make sure we showcase our nerdy world in a friendly and welcoming light. The day has only grown more and more popular, a trend that doesn’t look to stop anytime soon.

The most important thing to remember, though, is to take a chance. There are so many participating sponsors out now that you don’t have to take the Marvel or DC flipbook. Sure, you still can if you want, but the amount of talent doing things for other publishers and that’s creator-owned these days is awe-inspiring. There are so many good books from smaller publishers that you’re likely to be pleasantly surprised; check out some reviews below. Try to grab a book you’ve never heard of and there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy it!

Betty and Veronica #1 (Archie Comics)

The issue is written and illustrated by Adam Hughes, colored by José Villarrubia, and lettered by Jack Morelli.

Betty and Veronica have always been frenemies, but Hughes takes that relationship to an entirely new level in the superbly written Betty & Veronica #1. The script in the issue is extremely dense and packed with tons of narrative, effectively building up to the issue’s climax that reveals the origins of the cracks in the foundation of their friendship. And while Hughes’ script is thoroughly entertaining, the artwork is jaw-droppingly gorgeous. His style relies on soft curves as opposed to hard lines to define the players, giving the entire book a cohesive feel. If you haven’t been checking out the modernized Archie universe you’re missing out and Betty & Veronica #1 is a chance to remedy that.

The Tick (New England Comics)

“Happy Birthday Tick” and “Civic Duty” are written by Jeff McClelland and illustrated by Duane Redhead.

The Tick is something of a very odd superhero, but it’s his eccentricities that make him so appealing. In both “Happy Birthday Tick” and “Civic Duty,” McClelland gives the Tick plenty of opportunity to pontificate on the greater things in life; things such as inviting supervillains to a birthday party and monitoring an election. In both situations, McClelland is in fantastic form, offering dialogue that’s filled with all the corny – yet profound – one-liners you’d expect from a Tick book. Redhead’s artwork is equally up to the task of presenting the Tick and his cohorts, filling every page with an abundance of action. There’s even a section in “Happy Birthday Tick” where Redhead sketches the action and turns the issue into a coloring book!

Captain Canuck: Year One (Chapterhouse)

The issue is written by Jay Baruchel and Kalman Andrasofszky, illustrated by Marcus To, colored by Marco Pagnotta, and lettered by Andrew Thomas.

What’s interesting about Captain Canuck: Year One is its setting: Afghanistan. Baruchel is typically unabashed in his love for Canada (and rightfully so), but he and Andrasofszky place the character in modern-day Afghanistan fighting against the insurgency. And most of the issue features Captain Canuck as something of a boogeyman to both the insurgents and the soldiers fighting them. To’s artwork infuses the book with a superhero vibe and captures the Spartan lifestyle adapted by the armed forces.

Street Fighter V Wrestling Special (UDON Entertainment)

“Ladies Man” is written by Ken Siu-Chong, illustrated by Jeffrey “Chamba” Cruz, and lettered by Marshall Dillon. “Cold War Carnage” is written by Siu-Chong, illustrated by Hanzo Steinbach, and lettered by Dillong.

Both of the stories in Street Fighter V Wrestling Special leverage professional wrestling as a setting, but they come with very different messages that are delivered with a hint of levity. Siu-Chong focuses on everyone’s favorite lovable loser in Dan in the first issue while also baking in a very strong message about feminism. Meanwhile, Siu-Chong’s focus on Zangief in “Cold War Carnage” emphasizes a sense of nationalism and patriotic pride. Cruz’s artwork in the first feels very playful and bright, emphasizing the generally whimsical nature of Dan. Steinbach’s work in the latter is a bit more concise and refined, tapping into a broader sense of national competition. At its heart, Street Fighter V Wrestling Special is still about people fighting for what they believe in and is a great issue to showcase some of those ideals.

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