This Saturday isn’t just another day; It’s Free Comic Book Day! It’s like a taste of Christmas in May, because free really means free. Publishers create a selection of comics to sell to retailers at a bargain. Retailers then turn those deals around and offer titles for free – as in it costs you nothing – on Free Comic Book Day. The event always happens on the first Saturday of May, and you’ll be able to choose from several titles, ranging from Guardians of the Galaxy to Archie. Whether you’re a comics newbie or you’ve been reading comics since Stan Lee was a spring chicken, we’ve got five tips to help you maximize your Free Comic Book Day experience.
1. Plan ahead! Shops often only let you choose a limited number of free comics. I’ve seen limits from one comic to five comics. Look through the list of Free Comic Book Day titles and prioritize before you head out the door. Pick your top ten choices for maximum freedom.
2. Utilize the buddy system. Grab a friend or a few of them and tackle your free comics wish list together. This is a perfect opportunity to introduce a friend to comics for the first time. If you work together and get a variety of titles from capes to slice of life stories, you can show a comics newbie the different kinds of stories that are on shelves. Plus, you’ll get to read more of the Free Comic Book Day titles. Win.
3. Make it an all day event. One of the most fun ways to attack Free Comic Book Day is by planning a comic book shop crawl. This works best if you’re in city that has at least three comic book shops. Chart a map, gather friends, wear costumes or your favorite superhero t-shirts, and visit all the comic book shops you can in one day. Head to a meal or bar afterwards and kick back and enjoy your comics. You’ll have a blast creating memories with pals while collecting a pile of free comics.
If you do go that route, I suggest making a purchase at each shop. Retailers do pay for the comics you’re getting for free, and if you can buy anything – even if it’s a single issue – it’s just polite. More importantly, you’re supporting the shop and helping to keep their doors open.
4. Look for sales. Since customers are coming to their shop in droves, retailers often have trades and back issues marked down. This could be an ideal time to browse for items missing from your collection or trying out new comics. Or, if you’re me, it’s great for searching for $0.25 back issues of comics to use for crafting purposes.
5. Remember, it’s not just about free comics. Though getting a whole bunch of awesome comics for nothing is the focus of the day, don’t forget to keep your eyes open. Many shops bring in local creators for signings and sketches, and sometimes you’ll find costumed characters from the 501st or Rebel Legions at Free Comic Book Day events. Research area shops ahead of time and check out their blogs or Facebook pages (social media seems to be updated more often when it comes to events) to see what else is going on. It might sway your decision about where to go.
Not sure if your shop is participating in Free Comic Book Day? Check out the store locator sometime before Saturday, May 3rd, and plan accordingly!
What titles are you hoping to pick up this Saturday? Let us know in the comments!