Did you know that the first Saturday in May is Free Comic Book Day? Since 2002, comic book retailers have invited new fans and veteran readers into their stores to enjoy specially made free comics. Joe Field came up with the idea for FCBD in 2001, and Image Comics publisher Jim Valentino suggested that it be timed for a weekend with a major comic book movie opening at the box office. It hasn’t always worked out that way, and the early release of Avengers: Infinity War kept it from directly lining up with FCBD this year.
Nevertheless, FCBD 2018 is happening tomorrow, Saturday, May 5, although some stores will offer the free titles through the entire weekend and beyond. If you’re new to comics, the official Free Comic Book Day site has the details on every participating location, as well as a store locator. But there are a few things to keep in mind. Just because the comics are free doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to get every title you want. The retailers are paying for every comic, and they probably won’t be handing out every single title to individual customers. Usually, the stores set a limit on how many copies a fan can take.
This is primarily an initiative to win over new readers; that’s why most of the FCBD titles are essentially extended previews of comics coming later this year. It’s also designed to drive business to local stores, so please be sure to buy something, unless you want everything to turn into Amazon. Even the strongest stores can’t survive without a sustained customer base. In Los Angeles, we recently lost Meltdown Comics, one of our favorite stores in the country. We don’t want to lose any more!
There are 52 titles available as FCBD editions this year, and it’s in your best interest to figure out which ones you want ahead of time. The FCBD site has the complete details for each and every one of those comics, but we’re going to share a brief list of some of the titles that caught our attention this year.
Amazing Spider-Man FCBD 2018
For the first time in over a decade, Amazing Spider-Man has a new writer. Nick Spencer is taking over from Dan Slott, and he’s joined incoming Spidey artist Ryan Ottley for a preview tale that will lay the groundwork for the new era in Peter Parker’s life. The issue also features a primer on the Infinity Countdown event currently unfolding in the Marvel Universe.
Avengers/Captain America FCBD 2018
The Avengers and Captain America are sharing a FCBD special of their own, as both books are getting relaunched for Marvel’s Fresh Start initiative. This issue features an Avengers story by writers Jason Aaron and artist Sara Pichelli, as well as a Cap adventure by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Leinil Francis Yu.
Doctor Who FCBD 2018
Who’s your favorite modern Doctor? Aside from the Ninth Doctor, they’re all here in Titan’s Doctor Who FCBD special. The Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Doctors are getting the spotlight in their own tales, and the Thirteenth Doctor will be getting a very short story as well.
Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Special: Shattered Grid FCBD 2018
The Power Rangers have been revitalized by their ongoing comics at Boom! Studios. The Shattered Grid storyline is tied into this one-shot, as Lord Drakkon continues his assault on the Power Rangers from every era. Drakkon has already killed a member of the original team, and more Rangers may fall in this issue as well.
Overwatch/Black Hammer FCBD 2018
Dark Horse is offering a sampler for two of its most prominent properties: Overwatch and Black Hammer. The Overwatch story will expand upon Blizzard’s hit game by exploring Zarya’s perspective as she goes on a daring mission. The Black Hammer story will expand upon a world where most of the superheroes have been exiled from their city. Now the heroes are forced to come to grips with their new lives, which they can’t escape from.
Transformers: Unicron #0 FCBD 2018
This is the beginning of the end for IDW’s Transformers universe, and there’s no better way to go out than by going with the biggest villain of them all: Unicron! The rest of Hasbro’s characters haven’t been forgotten, as Unicron’s first target is Rom’s homeworld. Once Unicron has made a meal out of that planet, he’s coming for Cybertron and probably Earth as well.
There is also no guarantee that every store will have all of the titles or even the ones you want. So make sure to come out early on May 5th!