It’s Free Comic Book Day Again!

Free Comic Book Day logo

This Saturday, May 4, is Free Comic Book Day, comics’ national holiday. Visit the link to find a participating store near you and to see which books will be available. Or, for more entertainment, read Glen Weldon’s list, a hilarious rundown by category of reader that includes the following:

There’s some great superhero books you need to check out. Fantastic Four, Hawkeye, Daredevil, Young Avengers, Wonder Woman, Invincible, Batgirl, Dial H for Hero. None of them are FCBD offers this year, I’m afraid.

Or this, which sums up the holiday well:

Historically, Free Comic Book Day has dutifully reflected the current status of the comics marketplace, which is to say: wholly dominated by superheroes, licensed tie-ins, and genre fare.

But this is a once-in-a-year opportunity to show the truly limitless breadth of comics storytelling, and FCBD offerings have never done a particularly good job of representing that. There are plenty of comics that fit your description, trust me. You’ll just have to buy them.

Glen’s going for light-hearted humor, so he doesn’t mention — or perhaps doesn’t share my opinion — why those kinds of books aren’t included in FCBD. That’s because it’s easier to make it a kiddy holiday, fun for the whole family! Comics for adults have been included in the giveaways in the past, but one of them resulted in legal prosecution, and now everyone seems to find it safer to make the comics innocuous.

Except the flip side of that is that most of the superhero books really aren’t the kind of things you want kids reading, with the violence and the grimness. One year, back in the day, I was helping give out books, and Marvel’s title, in particular, wasn’t safe for younger children. It’s really hard to turn down a kid who wants the hot hero book when it’s not appropriate for them, and it’s confusing for parents who don’t follow comics.

I know today’s audience for superhero comics isn’t children, but there’s a confusing mixed message going on where the day is mostly about the kids — look at Diamond’s ads, which mostly feature children and people in costume — and yet DC and Marvel’s main books aren’t suitable for them. Making a “kid-friendly” second book just highlights the conflict.

Wow, that turned grumpy. That’s why I admire Glen for making his points about the gaps in FCBD coverage with humor. But the fact is, in spite of rah-rah Team Comics cheerleading about Free Comic Book Day being so important, the day isn’t for people like me. It’s to get the “uninitiated” into the stores, and the emphasis on well-known and licensed properties helps with that, even if I personally never want to read another comic that started as a movie/book/cartoon/bubble gum wrapper or serves mostly as an advertisement for same.

That’s why I’m looking forward to Action Lab’s Princeless/Molly Danger flipbook. It’s fresh content with girl heroes in genres — superhero and fantasy — that work well in comics. And remember — Free Comic Book Day isn’t free for retailers, so if you’re enjoying the event, consider buying something!


3 Responses to “It’s Free Comic Book Day Again!”

  1. Kat Kan Says:

    Most of the kids in my school read lots of comics – and almost all of them are indie titles from publishers other than the Big Two. Since I work in a preK-gr. 8 school, I like the selection of FCBD titles just fine, thank you. It allows me to provide my students with a nice variety of titles. I order lots of FCBD titles through my LCS, and we’ll have FCBD at my school on Monday. I have also sent a memo home to all families, inviting them to check out FCBD at all three of our local shops, and I’ll be at my favorite store, cosplaying and handing out comics to all who come.

  2. Johanna Says:

    I’m glad it’s working well for you. Sounds like you have some terrific plans for the holiday!

  3. James Schee Says:

    I’m a little bummed that I had so much to do today, as the shops in my area usually do little in the way of FCBD. Yet a new shop has opened recently and they were going all out this year http://www.lyonsdengames.com/

    Yet they closed at 4 for gaining tournament today, but mayb I’ll check with them later in week.

    I didn’t see anything in the FCBD this year that I really wanted, but I think it is good to see some interest I suppose. Now if u can just manage to go see IM3 in the next day or so.

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