Comics for the Masses: The best books to grab on Free Comic Book Day
This Saturday is Free Comic Book Day, an annual event where comic shops around the country share the joy of comics by offering special issues for free.
Though this may sound like one of those too-good-to-be-true situations, it’s not.
It is too good, and it is true.
Fine, so not EVERY comic book is free. That would be madness
and economically unsound. Instead, publishers have made 50 books specifically
for this event. (Look for the “Free Comic Book Day” logo on the cover.) These
books feature everything from superheroes to horror to television to romance to
biographies and more. (Check freecomicbookday.com for a full list and more
It can be tough to secure all 50 books—some shops impose a
limit or only order a handful of titles—so it might be easier to look for
specific books based on some arbitrary parameters.
Here’s what to grab on Free Comic Book Day if …
You’re One of the Six
Billion People Who’s Watched Superhero Films
Thanks to Hollywood, it’s never been easier to get into superhero comics. While the movies originally adapted characters and storylines from the comics, things have gradually reversed in recent years, making it easier for superhero fans to jump into a series featuring their favorite characters.
For those who want to jump straight into the deep end,
Marvel is offering two familiar-sounding books: Captain America: Steve Rogers and Civil War II. Both books benefit from an up-to-date knowledge of
comic book lore, but also serve as exciting jumping on points for new fans.
On the DC side of things, be sure to grab Suicide Squad #1. While definitely not
kid-friendly, this book features a similar cast and dark humor that’ll prep fans for this year’s film. There’s also a giant half-man, half-shark brilliantly named Man-Shark who, for some reason, didn’t make the big screen cut.
You Haven’t Picked Up a Comic Since the ’60s
Although comics are still a niche market today, they were
ubiquitous not too long ago. With nerd culture dominating the zeitgeist, now’s
a great time for lapsed readers to start again.
Older readers will be excited to know that their old pal Archie Andrews is still going strong, although he’s aged much better than expected. Archie #1 reimagines the
Riverdale gang for the 21st century. Writer Mark Waid and artist Fiona Staples
(currently the BEST artist working in comics) refresh the familiar without
drowning in nostalgia. Perfect for old and new readers alike.
Reluctant readers who remember comics as being mindless fodder for kids would be wise to grab the Love and Rockets sampler. Using stark artwork and literary elements, the Hernandez Bros. tell intricate and emotional stories about crime, politics,
art, love, homosexuality, culture and more. This legendary series is a perfect
example of how comics have evolved beyond capes and tights.
You’ve Never Picked Up, Let Alone Read a Comic Book
At its core, Free Comic Book Day is about how comics are for everyone. There are millions of titles perfect for readers of all ages and tastes. Young readers will love DC SuperHero Girls and the Dark Horse All-Ages Sampler (featuring stories from The Legend of Korra, How to Train Your Dragon and Plants Vs. Zombies), but try to grab Hilda and the Stone Forest, a beautifully drawn and imaginative comic about a girl and her pet fox exploring magical worlds.
Titles from visual mediums easily make the jump to comics. Animation fans should keep an eye out for the hilarious Bob’s Burgers and Simpsons comics; Street Fighter and Assassin’s Creed will appeal to gamers; sci-fi nerds need to pick up the Serenity
and Doctor Who titles; and anime fans are covered by One-Punch Man and Attack on Titan specials.
Perhaps the most important comic offered this year is March. This graphic novel trilogy is the autobiography of civil rights leader John Lewis, chronicling his fight for
equality during the ’60s and beyond. This sampler features the first 32-pages
of each book, but each page packs incredible power. This is easily the
must-read book of this year’s FCBD.