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Arts and Entertainment

Free Comic Book Day Turns 20 This Saturday — Celebrate With Dozens Of Comics On The House

A female fan in a Harley Quinn-inspired Batman T-shirt takes a selfie with comic book writer Scott Snyder, who wears a flannel shirt. Another writer with a beard sits to the right. They are in a comic shop, with racks filled with comics, clothing racks with comic sweatshirts and hats, statues of comic characters including Captain America and Catwoman, and more merchandise, as well as sharpies on the table in front of them for signing.
Legendary Batman Writer, Scott Snyder (center) with fan, signing for Free Comic Book Day at Fourth World Comics on May 2, 2015 in Smithtown, New York. Comic book writer James Tynion IV sits to the right.
(Eugene Gologursky
/
Getty Images for DC Entertainment)
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This Saturday (May 6) is Free Comic Book Day, the annual event where local comic shops offer a selection of exclusive free issues to bring in customers. The celebration is traditionally held the first weekend of May each year, usually the same weekend as a big superhero movie release helping to kick off the summer movie season. This year marks the event’s 20th anniversary.

And the film for this year is Marvel’sDoctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Both Marvel and DC Comics have a selection of three comics each available while supplies last at participating shops. Marvel’s books feature crossovers between the Avengers and the X-Men, as well as Spider-Man and Venom. Meanwhile, DC has a prelude issue for their big summer crossover: Dark Crisis.

While stores are trying to draft off the pop culture excitement, they’ll also have comics from dozens of other publishers — including stories that go beyond just superheroes, with genres ranging from teen romance to horror for adults.

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You’ll find popular franchises like Avatar: The Last Airbender and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, as well as the latest book from large independent publisher Image Comics, Clementine. You can find a list of most of the comics available on Free Comic Book Day here, with DC’s offerings at this link.

The comic book industry has struggled for decades, ever since a 1990s peak, with declining sales and an aging fanbase. That’s despite the growing impact of comics in film and television, as most fans seem happy to enjoy these characters on screen while passing on the original format.

Free Comic Book Day gives those shops a chance to reach out to new and returning customers, with giveaways aimed at all ages. Comic companies have spent recent years creating more young adult and middle grade stories, so there’s likely something here for more youthful readers as well.

An illustration promoting Free Comic Book Day showing three kids dressed in Star Wars-esque costumes, with aliens standing behind them and peering over their shoulders as they read comics.
A promotional image for Free Comic Book Day, with cosplaying kids sharing their comics with alien friends.
(Courtesy Free Comic Book Day)

Many shops will have signings, such as the writers of DC’s Flashpoint Beyond signing at North Hollywood’s Collector’s Paradise. You’ll also find sales on comics and larger collected editions this weekend, so you just might find a deal.

Most stores have staff that can help you find the right book for you. You can find a participating comic store near you by putting in your zip code at FreeComicBookDay.com.

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