If you haven't heard of it, comic book retailers around the world give away a select handful of comics for free on the first Saturday of May. The annual tradition is celebrating its 10th year giving comics to fans and getting new readers. I know the word "free" usually comes with a catch but not on this day! The process is pretty straightforward.
Go to the FCBD page and enter your zip code to find stores in your area that are participating (the search tool is on the left). Go to that store on May 5 and get free comics. The number of free comics you can take home varies by store; I've been to stores that give you three comics and I've been to ones that give you seven. If there's not a sign stating the number, just ask one of the employees when you arrive. Shops usually have the FCBD selection in one area so as not to confuse them with comics you have to purchase. The selection usually includes a variety from different publishers, and for the first time this year, there is even a free HARDCOVER book from Archaia. Yeah, it's going to go fast. Here's a list of this year's comics.
Many comic book shops usually make this a day to celebrate! They'll have cosplayers on hand, crazy sales on back issues and graphic novels, art auctions, and/or creator signings. Once you've found a store or three to visit, search for the website or Facebook page to see what else they have going on. It's fun to go on a comic book shop crawl on FCBD with friends and then take all the comics to a bar or park and read and talk about them.
I think the best part of this day is exposing new readers to comic books and existing readers to comic books they wouldn't otherwise try. It's basically a free trial, and it's fun to introduce comics to friends who aren't normally into them. It's great for kids, too! There are plenty of all ages comics available on FCBD. If you can't talk friends into going, pass your free comics on to them when you're done reading (if you can bear to part with them).
And, it's good to keep in mind that retailers do pay for the comics they giveaway, so if you can support them by buying an issue or two it's great but absolutely not necessary.
If there aren't any participating stores near you or you can't get out of work, etc that day, fear not! You have digital options. Keep an eye on Graphicly and comiXology for digital free comics. They've offered them in the past, and I'm sure they will again this year.
Happy Free Comic Book Day!
Finally, if you're in Los Angeles, I recommend checking out the Blastoff Comics FCBD event in North Hollywood! It's going to be fun, and I'll be there for a bit (possibly in costume).
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