Free Comic Book Day Explained

Free Comic Book Day is an annual event that takes place on the first Saturday of May. On this day, participating comic book shops around the world give away a selection of free comic books to anyone who comes into the store.

Let me say that again:

Free comics… for anyone who goes into a comic book shop!

Scott Pilgrim rocking out GIF | Sidetracked Comics

When did Free Comic Book Day start?

In 2001, comic book retailer Joe Field proposed the idea as a way to promote the industry and bring new readers into comic book stores.

Diamond Comic Distributors, at the time the sole distributor for US mainstream comics, organised the first event in 2002. The date of May 4th was chosen as it was the day after the release of the first Sam Raimi Spider-Man film, and the hope was that the buzz from the film would carry through to the comics.

The event was a resounding success, and it has been held annually on the first Saturday of May every year since.

For more about the origins of FCBD, check out this blog post from Barry Lyga, the architect of it all.

A selection of all-ages Batman comic books | Sidetracked Comics

What type of comics can you get on Free Comic Book Day?

Publishers select their comics to appeal to a wide range of readers. The comics you can get for free vary from year to year, and can include a wide range of genres and styles.

Previous years have seen comic shops giving away:

  • One-shot comics from the biggest publishers
  • Original stories by independent creators
  • All-ages comics featuring popular characters from TV, film and beyond
  • Previews of upcoming comics and graphic novels
  • Special edition reprints of classic comics

It’s not unheard of for comic shops to put old back issues out for free as well.

There are two tiers of comic available on the day.

Gold sponsor comics are comics you can find at every participating comic shop. Silver sponsor comics are a little harder to find, and only available at some participating stores.

Whether you’re trying your first comic or a seasoned collector getting a classic issue in a new format, Free Comic Book Day offers something for everyone… for free!

A comic shop with full shelves | Sidetracked Comics

Sounds great! How do I get me some free comics?

The answer’s simple – get to your local comic shop on the first Saturday in May!

Not sure where that is? Use this handy Comic Shop Locator to find the nearest comic shop to you.

Be sure to plan ahead and get there early. As the biggest day of the comic shop calendar, Free Comic Book Day issues don’t tend to hang around for long…

See you there!

Thanks For Reading | Sidetracked Comics