Free Comic Book Day (“FCBD”) is traditionally held on the first Saturday in May. Families can find the closest participating comic book retailers at the link at the bottom of this article. Each year participating stores feature free sample comic books from various studios and creators.
2023 New Titles:
2023’s titles have been announced and are available on the Free Comic Book website. There are a variety of genres and comics for readers of all ages. Some popular titles include: The Umbrella Academy, The Witcher, Dog Man, Star Trek, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Avengers. Find the full list at the bottom of this article.
How Free Comic Book Day Works
It is up to the individual comic book shops how to distribute the free comics. At some events, we were able to walk through and pick our favorites at others we were handed a prepacked bag with a random assortment of free comics.
The Best of Parts:
The obvious, best part of FCBD is the free comic books. These can be good comics, too. I enjoy reading some of them as an adult. One bag of comics lasts an average reader a good long time.
Besides the free samples of national comics, local artists sometimes have their own comic books for sale during FCBD. Just like with books, it is fun to collect comic books with a local tie-in and an autograph from someone you could run into at the grocery store. Like independent bookstores, comic book stores tend to be locally-owned businesses that have to fight against the ease of internet sales, so by supporting these events you are supporting both local comic book artists and a locally owned business.
Meet Some Superheroes:
While waiting in line, you might just run into your favorite comic book character. Costumed characters (especially the Marvel characters) wander the lines, plus a lot of people in line dress up. This can be a fun way to mingle with other fans. It’s a good time to for kids to get some extra use out of their Halloween costumes.
The stores often offer other special deals on FCBD. Did you know that some comic book stores offer free starter sets for popular role playing card games, like Magic: The Gathering?
The Downside of Free Comic Book Day
Free Comic Book Day divides its offerings into Gold and Silver Comics. As far as I can tell, the difference is in popularity. If you see Gold Comics that you particularly want, I would recommend showing up early. Each participating store will get a limited number of comics to offer.
Long Lines & Crowds:
Having gone to a few of these events, I recommend finding a smaller store. In my experience, the bigger store has had long lines and chose your comics for you. In fact, I had a feeling they may have held back the best comics for select people. One year, at one of the biggest comic shops in town, none of us got any of the comics we wanted after standing in line outside for an hour. In contrast, when we have visited a small nearby store, we had no lines and had our pick of any or all of the comics offered. Unfortunately small stores are less likely to stay in business from year to year, and our favorite store was closed the next year. It also may be worthwhile to call ahead to see how the store you want to visit distributes comics and how long their lines have been historically.
3 Alternatives to Free Comic Book Day
If you are not into crowds, but still want to share the love of comic books with your kids, you have some alternatives.
- Be a Day Late: Another option to keep in mind is that stores don’t always run out of these free comic books. If you are not into the crowds and don’t have particular comics that you really want, you may be able to stop by a day or two later and ask if they have leftovers. We were able to take home selections from both Free Comic Book Day and Halloween Comic Day a few days after the Halloween giveaway one year. Stopping in on a different day is a good option if you would like to do additional shopping without the crowds.
- Thrift stores and used book stores are great places to search for old comic books. This is a good idea, again, if you want comics, but not specific comics and you want to avoid crowds.
- Graphic Novels: With the rise in popularity of graphic novels, which are basically comic books in book format, you can tap your library for good options — both for yourself and your kids. Watch the Red Balloon’s book clubs, because in the past, they have offered graphic novels in their Kids Read Book Club. I’ve found some good selections through their recommendations.
The full list of titles and publishers:
Gold Sponsor Comics:
- Seismic Stories
- Archie Horror Presents: The Cursed Library
- Ranger Academy
- The Umbrella Academy/ The Witcher
- Red Sonja: She-Devil with a Sword #0
- DogMan and the League of Misfits
- Star Trek
- Fishflies #1 FCBD Preview Edition
- All Ages Gold Sampler
- Amazing Spider-Man/ Venom
- Avengers/ X-Men
- Conan The Barbarian FCBD 2023 Special
- Choujin X/ Rooster Fighter
Silver Sponsor Comics:
- Animal Castle FCBD Edition
- Tom Holland’s Fright Night
- Kotto Kotorra
- Mech Cadets FCBD Special
- Star Wars/ Avatar: The Last Airbender
- Madballs vs. Garbage Pail Kids
- The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers
- Investigators: All Tide Up
- The Overstreet Guide to Collecting Comics
- Baby-Sitters Little Sister: Karen’s Haircut
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
- Shaman King Flowers/ Welcome to Demon School Iruma-Kun
- Marvel Voices #1
- Spidey and His Amazing Friends
- Punch Up! Preview
- FrazettaVerse #0
- Smurfs 65th Anniversary FCBD Special
- Sweet Valley Twins: Teacher’s Pet
- 2000AD Regened Presents: The Best Comic Ever
- I Am Stan – Biography of Stan Lee
- Runescape: Untold Tales of the God Wars
- The Nightmare Before Christmas: The Battle for Pumpkin King #1
- Street Fighter 6 #0
- Shadowman Dark Legacy FCBD Special
- West of Sundown #1
- The Last Comics on Earth
- Animal Crossing/ Kirby Manga Mania
- Find the 2023 List of what comics are free on comic book day.
- Find a Participating Twin Cities Comic Shop where you can get free comics – We recommend calling ahead even if the shop is listed.