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If there’s any day I approach with the same level of pee-your-pants excitement and anticipation as Christmas, it’s Free Comic Book Day (FCBD). A global event that happens every year on the first Saturday in May, I plan my entire life around it. What’s that you say? My child has her swim lessons smack dab in the middle of the day? I don’t give a crap. I’m getting me my free comics.
Free Comic Book Day is organized by distributors as a means of promoting new comic books and comic book retailers to total noobs, though it is also a major holiday for longstanding nerds like myself. Over 2,000 local comic shops across the world take part, passing out the free comics that have been chosen by a committee of retailers. Some of these shops also have other goodies on hand, plus food, cosplay competitions, book signings, and more.
I cannot handle my excitement right now.
This year, there will be 47 free books on offer during Free Comic Book Day (though, just to warn you, most shops limit how many books you can grab, so as to ensure enough inventory for everyone). Here are just a few of the books I’m most looking forward to, plus some recommendations for backlist titles from my favorite creators.
Seismic Stories by Alex Segura, Rex Ogle, Joe Eisma, and Margeurite Bennett
As a person who lives and breathes horror, the cover of Seismic Stories by Alex Segura, Rex Ogle, and Joe Eisma immediately caught my eye. Apparently, the prologue to The Darkness We Brought Back that’s included in this book features an abandoned, creepy-ass house and a ragtag band of misfits who make the mistake of walking through its front door. We all know how these stories end (and yet we continue to read them). There’s also a new story in this book by Marguerite Bennett, which takes place in the world of Animosity.
Bennett and Segura are both highly prolific comics creators so, beyond Bennett’s Animosity series and Segura’s full-ass volume of The Darkness We Brought Back, there are tons of titles to check out if this FCBD offering whets your appetite for their work, a lot of it deliciously dark.
Fishflies by Jeff Lemire
Speaking of prolific, I’m always amazed by the number of titles Jeff Lemire manages to pump out on a yearly basis. For FCBD, you’ll have a chance to pick up a copy of Fishflies, a new series about a town infested by fishflies…among other things.
If you’d like to check out more of his work, some of my favorite titles are those he collaborated on with artist Andrea Sorrentino, especially those that take place in the Bone Orchard Mythos universe, which was introduced on Free Comic Book Day in 2022, in addition to Gideon Falls. He’s also known for his Little Monsters series, done with artist Dustin Nguyen.
Mexikid by Pedro Martín
In this all-ages sampler, you can get a glimpse of Pedro Martín’s graphic memoir, in which he writes/draws of being an American-born Mexican kid who doesn’t feel as if he fits in anywhere. He also shares the story of a road trip he undertakes with his fam in order to bring his abuelito home to live with them. I believe Mexikid is Martín’s first full-length book, so I have no backlist recs for you. But I’m excited to pick this one up, so I wanted to let you know you should keep an eye out, too.
In 2020, Marvel launched a new series called Voices, in which they spotlight some of their more diverse superheroes, and feature their more diverse creators. They’ve since published Marvel’s Voices: Identity, Marvel’s Voices: Legacy, Marvel’s Voices: Pride, and others. In this Free Comic Book Day offering, readers will be able to read previous stories from already-published anthologies, plus a brand new one.
In addition to reading all of the previous anthologies, allow me to rec my favorite Marvel superhero of color, Ms. Marvel / Kamala Khan, a Muslim Pakistani-American living in Jersey City. Brought to life by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona, you can start her story with Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal.
I could go on, but I will point out one source of disappointment as FCBD approaches: not enough women! If you’d like to explore some more women-led comic series, please do check out my posts on comics that feature kick-ass women kicking ass, the comics I share with my child, and my case for more curvy women in comics.
And if you’d look to take a look at all the titles available this Free Comic Book Day (May 6), you can check out the full catalog here.