Free Comic Book Day celebrates its 20th anniversary on Saturday, May 7 with help from such longtime pals as Spider-Man, Archie, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
At independent comic book shops across the country and around the world, comic book fans can pick up special editions of comic books published for the annual event.
What you want to know is how it works and what they’re giving away, right? Here’s how it works.
The 11 Gold Sponsor comic books published for Free Comic Book Day include such big publishers and well-known series such as Marvel’s “Spider-Man/Venom,” Dark Horse Comics’ “Stranger Things” and “Resident Alien,” Image Comics’ “ The Bone Orchard: Mythos Prelude,” and Archie Comics “The Best Archie Comic Ever!”
An additional 35 Silver Sponsor comic books feature smaller imprints or titles, though many of these characters will be familiar to readers. “Clementine” is a new YA spinoff from the Walking Dead franchise, while the Winchester Mystery House is featured in another book.
And even among the Silver titles, big-name series from the worlds of the Avengers, Donald Duck, Pokemon, Avatar and the Three Stooges are part of the lineup.
Note, though, that not all titles will be available at every store, and each store will have its own policies on how many of the Free Comic Book Day titles you can snag.
You can find your local participating comic book shows by going to Freecomicbookday.com/StoreLocator. and putting in your ZIP code. All of the stores typically treat Free Comic Book Day as a party or an open house, putting out the welcome mat for their longtime regulars and brand-new customers alike.
Some shops, though, go all out, adding lots of bells and whistles to the basic lure of a free comics.
At Nuclear Comics & Skate in Laguna Hills, comic book artist EM Gist, who has done lots of covers for Marvel, DC, Boom! and Dark Horse, will be signing from 9 am to 1 pm The store also plans to give away door prizes in addition to running special sales on its regular stock.
Golden Apple Comics in Los Angeles also has artists lined up to the sign on Saturday, including Dan Panosian, Mitch Iverson, and Adam Rose. It also has a variety of contests and special food vendors on site.
In Pasadena, Comics Factory is making a weekend of it, with a contest on Saturday to win rare variant covers and Funko Chase figures from the shop. On Sunday, they host a day-long festival for younger comics fans with games, T-shirt coloring supplies, and Mother’s Day paper flower creation station, because if your mom takes you to a comic book shop on her day, you owe her.
For all the details on Free Comic Book Day, including all of the titles published for it this year, and a locator for all the shops that are participating, go to freecomicbookday.com