Free Comic Book Day: Feed Your Inner Nerd for Free / by Benjamin Sawyer

Videogames have been a giant part of my life. Even introducing me to other nerdy habits, like comic books, which happens to compliment my love of reading.

I remember when I first started following my first comic book series: Cable and Deadpool. I was playing X-Men: Rise of Apocalypse and I fell in love with the Merc with a Mouth. My brother, probably tired of hearing me rant and rave, said I should check out the local comic book store and read more about Deadpool’s shenanigans. The next day, I went and was directed to several Deadpool comics. I continued to go back and the issues were done by the time I made it home. We started buying two, or three each visit. Then, to feed my obsession, back issue sales became my scene. 

This is why I cannot help but talk about Free Comic Book Day (FCBD). 

FCBD is a collaboration of the North American comic book community coming together for the love of comic books. Local comic book stores work together to distribute comic books to the community while gaining national coverage. The first FCBD was in 2002 and was associated with a release of one of the first big comic book movies, “Spider-Man.”

FCBD is always the first Saturday in May, so this year’s, Saturday, May 7, is associated with the movie release of “Captain America: Civil War.” This year, the organization is celebrating 15 years of bringing free comic books to the community. 

FreeComicBookDay.com has a store locator on their website to help people find a participating store near them. While some stores may limit the number of comics given out, everyone is guaranteed one free comic book. The retailers receive a heavy discount on each of the comic books that they give out for free and some stores give out merchandise. It is all on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Some stores hire professional cosplayers to appear for the day for pictures and attendees are also encouraged to attend in cosplay as their favorite comic book characters. 

According to FreeComicBookDay.com, “[The event] is administered by a panel representing all parts of the comic book industry: retailers, publishers, suppliers, and Diamond Comic Distributors. Each year, publishers apply to provide comic books at cost to retailers, who in turn give them away for free. Diamond handles marketing and logistics for the event, shipping comics to shops and handling marketing and PR for the event.”

Besides just supporting the art form of comic books which has been around since the early 20th century, this day is a great way to promote comics to children. Comic books can be a great motivator for kids to get into the habit of reading and enjoying it. For me, I already had that love, but it kept me reading. Comic books are also a great way for parents to bond with children as they read the books together. 

But the bonding over comic books is not just for children and parents. Comic books vary in artists, writers, concepts, topics, humor, and more. It is hard not to find something to enjoy. This effort is easy to see on any FCBD at any local retailer. Crowds of people of all ages bond over the issues available. FCBD tries to provide comics that are both different and entertaining for avid comic readers and inviting for novice comic readers. 

Along with a sense of community and love of reading, this event promotes local business. FCBD drives consumers to local comic book stores and shoppers get to check out what the store has to offer, leading to future business for the comic shop. In this way, local small businesses are able to tap into a promotion that is nationwide and generate more publicity than they could with their own local advertising. 

To continue the community bonding aspect of the event, attendees are encouraged to take pictures of themselves enjoying FCBD and tweet @freecomicbook and use #FCBD2016 and #FCBD. 

The list of comic books to choose from can be found at http://www.freecomicbookday.com/Home/1/1/27/981. There are even downloadable previews for some of the comics. Follow FCBD on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates. 

I hope you will join me and other fans by participating in this year’s FCBD Saturday. 

@AnimeKat13
~Kathleen