Geeky Parent Guide: What to Know about Free Comic Book Day 2017

Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) is the event to strengthen your interest in the amazing world of comic books, trade paperbacks, graphic novels, trading cards, superhero figurines, and posters of your favorite characters. FCBD also serves as the perfect opportunity for those curious about comic books to stop by their local store, pick up some free comics, and see the wonderful artwork and entertaining storytelling showcased within. As perfectly described on freecomicbookday.com (as part of the Diamond Pop-Culture Network) as to what the event is, “Free Comic Book Day is an annual event founded on the belief that for every person out there, there’s a comic book that they’ll love.”

If you’re new to the comic book scene, let me help provide some details on what to expect with such a large event, including what different shops around the world are doing on this special day. FCBD has been around since 2002, and tons of comic books have been given away to the masses (according to sponsorship page). To be clear, tons and masses are in the vicinity of “over 40 million free comic books have been distributed to over 10 million FCBD attendees!” With such an enormous following for a one-day event, it’s safe to say comic book stores have found ways to keep longtime fans and newcomers coming back year after year.

First, stores have a range of 50 free offerings from 38 different publishers that FCBD has listed online, including a “PREVIEWS Prevue” for most of them. Among those available, there are many well-known characters being represented from the likes of Marvel and DC – Guardians of the Galaxy and Wonder Woman. In addition, Secret #1 (with its own trailer) brings together many Marvel superhero teams to fight the common threat of Hydra, while DC highlights DC Super Hero Girls – an option aimed toward “all ages.” In a post earlier this year, FCBD provided a rating system for the free comics being offered; all ages (A), teen (T), and mature (M) to “help decide what comics are suited for you.” You can check out the full list of ratings online, but let’s take a look at other publishers listed and some of their titles you will find available on FCBD.


IDW Publishing

Star Trek: The Next Generation – Mirror Broken
Description: Star Trek series have had a few stories involving beloved characters and how different they would be in an alternate universe. Star Trek: TNG is the focus of this rendition, with the cover page presenting new looks for three members of the bridge crew.
Rating: All Ages

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Prelude to Dimension X (a future story planned to hit stands later during summer)
Description: This comic preview shows our turtles investigating underground, including some action scenes of them battling automated lasers with quick action and humor.
Rating: All Ages


BOOM! Studios

Summer Blast
Description: This comic book includes three different stories from three different imprints under BOOM! Studios: Archaia’s Mouse Guard, KaBOOM!’s Brave Chef Brianna, and Coady and the Creepies from BOOM! Box. Each story in the preview shows some type of imagery or dialogue that might be intense for younger children; skulls, strange monsters, and a deadly car crash.
Rating: All Ages


Dark Horse Comics

James Cameron’s Avatar: Brothers, also includes a section dedicated to the series, Briggs Land, which is also becoming a “television adaptation with AMC.”
Description: This vibrantly illustrated preview highlights wondrous creatures and looming trouble on the horizon.
Rating: Teen


YouNeek Studios

Malika: Warrior Queen – Chapter One
Description: This story starts with a young girl practicing her dagger skills, and her mother encouraging her to continue, stating, “Maybe you would make a great warrior someday.” This historical fiction is based around a 15th Century queen in Africa “who struggles to keep the peace in her ever-expanding empire.”
Rating: Teen


Kodansha Comics

Attack on Titan
Description: This FCBD original introduces the gruesome return of soldiers from battle, and the interactions of family members waiting and then witnessing the lifeless, bloody body of those returning on horseback. The cover page also highlights a devastating image of a one-sided fight ending with a partially destroyed face. The comic books were also transformed into an anime series.
Rating: Teen


Image Comics

I Hate Image
Description: A little girl with green hair, wielding an axe larger than herself, stands on top of a pile of altered-looking Image characters on the cover page. The first few pages are filled with violent fight scenes, with bone crunching fisticuffs and vulgar language proving its rating for an older audience – based off the series, I Hate Fairyland, created in 2015.
Rating: Mature



Along with an extended list of comic books available for free, many shops include an assortment of activities and sales to keep lifelong fans and beginners busy. To give you a glimpse into some of the fun components to this amazing event, let’s travel around the globe to show you what to expect, and perhaps you’ll stop by one of these locations or find a local comic book shop in your neighborhood to visit.

Each one of the stores listed below have been gracious enough to provide an inside look into their event – check out their responses below. Before landing in the states, let’s start with an international tour that takes us to the beautiful countryside of Greece.


Solaris Comics
Address: Botasi 6, 10682 Athens Greece
Phone: +30210-3841065
Email: info (at) solaris (dot) gr
Store Hours on FCBD: 9:00am – 3:30pm

Geeky Parent Guide: What comic books are available for free in this store?
Solaris Comics: All comics from FCBD event

GPG: How many free items can be picked up from this store?
SC: 3 per person

GPG: Staff Picks – Favorites of the free comics offered for FCBD 2017, including its rating:
SC: I Hate Image (M)
2000 AD Special (T)
Secret Empire #1 (T)
The Incal (M)

GPG: Are there specific sales or FCBD activities that reach customers of your store year-after-year?
SC: We have signings of writers and artists, and various sales days.

GPG: Are there generally kids of all ages in the store?
SC: Yes

GPG: Is there one age group more than the other?
SC: 14-16 years old

GPG: Do parents and children come in the store together often/on FCBD?
SC: Yes

For more information and to follow Solaris Comics, you can also find them on Facebook.


Forbidden Planet (a few of their multiple UK locations)
Address: 179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, WC2H 8JR
Phone: 020 7420 3666
Store Hours on FCBD: 10:00am – 3:00pm
Address: 74 Bull Street, Birmingham, B4 6AD
Phone: 0121 236 3026
Store Hours on FCBD: 9:30am – 3:00pm
Address: 49 Grainger Street, Newcastle, NE1 5JE
Phone: 0191 261 9173
Store Hours on FCBD: 9:30am – 3:00pm
Address: Units 4&5 Clifton Heights, Bristol, BS8 1EJ
Phone: 0117 929 7767
Store Hours on FCBD: 10:00am – 3:00pm

GPG: What comic books are available for free in these stores?
Forbidden Planet: Wonder Woman, Rick and Morty, Judge Dredd, plus Guardians of the Galaxy, and the other heroes (and villains) of the Marvel Universe!  Look out for the Forbidden Planet EXCLUSIVE variant of the Doctor Who title too.

GPG: How many free items can be picked up from this store?
FP: We have bags of comics – one bag per customer while supplies last.

GPG: Activities for the Day:
FP: Artist and writer Christian Ward signing Black Bolt #1 from 1pm to 2pm – Birmingham location
Writer Alex Paknadel and artist Simon Myers signing Titan Comics’ Doctor Who, Caspar Wijngaard signing Assassin’s Creed: Locus, and Limbo being signed by Dan Watters from 1pm to 2pm – London location
Writer Alan Martin signing World War Tank Girl from 1pm to 2pm – Newcastle location
Writer Cavan Scott signing Tekken #1 from 1pm to 2pm – Bristol location
Artist Neil Edwards signing Torchwood 2.1 from 1pm to 2pm – Liverpool location

Check out their Twitter page for more information or if you want to ask them a question, or check online for their full list of stores participating in FCBD.


Adelaide Comics Centre
Address: Shop 6G Gays Arcade, 111 Rundle Mall, Adelaide, South Australia (Gays Arcade runs off Adelaide Arcade – free comics will be given out in Adelaide Arcade while a big SALE will take place in the store)
Phone: 82235593
Email: dynamicduocomics (at) bigpond (dot) com
Store Hours on FCBD: 9:30am – 5:00pm

GPG: What comic books are available for free?
Adelaide Comics Centre: We have thousands of free comics to give away!

GPG: How many free items can be picked up from the store?
ACC: Three books per person

GPG: Staff Picks – Favorites of the free comics offered, including its rating:
ACC: Rick and Morty (T)
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (T)
The Simpsons (Bongo Comics Free-for-All) (A)
Wonder Woman #1 Special Edition (T)

GPG: Special Deals:
ACC: Graphic Novels on sale from $10 each
Statues will be 20% off
Posters will be 20% off
T-shirts will be $10 each
Back issues will be 20% off

GPG: Activities for the Day:
ACC: Special signings/sketches from local/national artists – We will have a group of prominent Australian writers and artists doing signings and sketches and giveaways.

GPG: What would you most want to have highlighted in an article featuring FCBD aimed toward giving parents an inside scoop into this international event?
ACC: This is a worldwide event every year to promote kids reading!

GPG: Are there generally kids of all ages in the store?
ACC: Parents and kids of all ages

If you live in or are visiting Australia, and you want to ask any questions before stopping by, you can also reach out to Adelaide Comics Centre on their Facebook page


Back in the States, let’s travel from west to east coast, making our first stop in sunny California before eventually finding our way to the Mid-Atlantic.

Blastoff Comics
Address: 5118 Lankershim Boulevard, North Hollywood, CA 91601
Phone: 818-980-BOOK
Email: blastoff (at) blastoffcomics (dot) com
Store Hours on FCBD: 10:00am – 8:00pm

GPG: What comic books are available for free?
Blastoff Comics: A full complement of the titles offered by all of the main publishers’ offerings. PLUS! We also give away free copies of modern and vintage comics mixed in with the FCBD offerings.

GPG: How many free items can be picked up?
BC: We ask folks to limit themselves to three comic books per person.

GPG: Are there any additional free items for spending a minimum amount?
BC: No minimums. Just free stuff!

GPG: Staff Picks – Favorites of the free comics offered, including its rating:
BC: We’re partial to the IDW Star Trek TNG Mirror Broken (A) comic. But the writers and artists will be signing at the store that day, so that might have affected our decision!

GPG: Staff Picks – Highlight an amazing deal on a product:
BC: DC’s Super Hero Girls looks to be a slam dunk for our scores of young girls we have that frequent our shop. That’s the fastest growing audience for us (and the industry!) and we’re happy to see DC put their efforts into their youth market.

GPG: Special Deals:
BC: We always run a 25-50% off sale on everything in the store. That goes from opening to close.

GPG: Activities for the Day:
BC: Creator appearances – Mark Waid (Everything), Cecil Castelluci (Shade the Changing Girl), Scott Tipton (Star Trek TNG, Doctor Who, City on the Edge of Forever), David Tipton (Star Trek TNG, Doctor Who, City on the Edge of Forever)
Cosplayers
Raffles
Balloons
Giveaways
Food Truck
And…We give a portion of everything we make that day to Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles!

GPG: What else would you want to mention about FCBD in your store to parents that we haven’t touched on so far?
BC: FCBD is a FAMILY day, not just a day for kids! It’s become a tradition for the families who shop with us. Traditions mean so much. Kids will grow up and then bring their own kids and tell them stories about FCBD with their grandparents.

If you’re interested in following or reaching out to Blastoff Comics, check out their Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages.


Gabi’s Olympic Cards & Comics
Address: 4230 Pacific Avenue, Lacey, WA 98503
Phone: 360-459-7721
Email: olympiccardsandcomics (at) gmail (dot) com
Store Hours on FCBD: 10:00am – Midnight (Following day; 10am – 6pm)

GPG: What comic books are available for free?
Gabi’s Olympic Cards & Comics: There will be a wide selection of free comics from publishers like Marvel, DC, Image, etc.

GPG: How many free items can be picked up?
GOCC: 3 comics per person

GPG: Are there any additional free items for spending a minimum amount?
GOCC: We will have some buy one, get one deals on items.

GPG: Staff Picks – Favorites of the free comics offered, including its rating:
GOCC: Secret Empire #1 (T)
Wonder Woman (T)
Rick and Morty (T)
DC Super Hero Girls (A)

GPG: Staff Picks – Highlight an amazing deal on a product:
GOCC: Quarter comics!

GPG: Special Deals:
GOCC: Free Comics (3 per person); Buy one, get one free on specially marked items, and 10-90% off storewide sale

GPG: Activities for the Day:
GOCC: Comic book creators: Greg Rucka, Greg Smith, and Ryan Fisher will be signing comics from 1pm to 5pm.

GPG: What would you most want to have highlighted in an article featuring FCBD aimed toward giving parents an inside scoop into this international event?
GOCC: Free comic book day is a fully family friendly event. It’s a great time for some customers as a great way to start reading comics. The most important part for us is building our community and making everyone feel welcome.

GPG: What else would you want to mention about FCBD in your store to parents that we haven’t touched on so far?
GOCC: Free Comic Book Day is all ages friendly with products aimed at all reading levels. It’s a very family friendly event with age ranges attending in equal amounts.

If you want to follow online, check out their Facebook and Twitter pages.


Escape Velocity (two locations)
Address: 19 East Bijou Street, Colorado Springs, CO 80903
Address: 3347 Cinema Point, Colorado Springs, CO 80922
Store Hours on FCBD: 11:00am – 8:00pm

GPG: What comic books are available for free in these stores?
Escape Velocity: X-O Manowar, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Disney: Descendants, Attack on Titan, and more!

GPG: How many free items can be picked up?
EV: Customers can grab up to 3 books per store. Customers in costume can grab 4!

GPG: Are there any additional free items for spending a minimum amount?
EV: We’ll have games and prizes throughout the day. Some of the prizes include, FCBD shirts, buttons, posters, and select figures.

GPG: Staff Picks – Favorites of the free comics offered, including its rating:
EV: Rick and Morty (T)
All-New Guardians of the Galaxy #1 (T)
Dragon Ball Super (T)
*Of course, we’ll have more mature books separate from the kid’s comics.

GPG: Special Deals:
EV: To celebrate the opening of Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, we’re giving a 15% discount on all related GotG merchandise (toys, apparel, graphic novels).

GPG: Activities for the Day:
EV: We’ll have local artists promoting their art; Langdon Foss (Vote Loki, The Surface, Get Jiro) at the Bijou location, and Ben Worrell (Sheath Comics) and Sarah Menzel at our Cinema Point location. There are 8 guests booked between both stores.

There are also cosplayers to entertain the kids and Green Arrow will be doing a live demonstration with his amazing trick arrows.

GPG: What would you most want to have highlighted in an article featuring FCBD aimed toward giving parents an inside scoop to this international event?
EV: It’s great for parents and kids to discover the magic of comics. There’s a little something for everyone and it’s a great way to get kids excited to read!

GPG: Are there any extended sales offered for customers to take advantage of FCBD on another day?
EV: For those that miss out on FCBD, we’ll still be offering comics throughout the rest of the week, so everyone has a chance to pick up their favorite FCBD titles.

If you want to ask them questions directly, you can find them on Facebook and Twitter.


Comic Carnival
Address: 7235 N Keystone Avenue, Suite E, Indianapolis, IN 46240
Phone: 317-253-8882
Email: ComicCarnival (at) yahoo (dot) com
Store Hours on FCBD: 10:00am – 8:00pm

GPG: How many free items can be picked up?
Comic Carnival: Each person can get up to 6 free comics, with more available from coupons we pass out during the month.

GPG: Staff Picks – Favorites of the free comics offered, including its rating:
CC: We’re most excited for the Star Trek TNG Mirror Broken (A) comic! Picard, Data, and Worf stories from the mirror universe? Yes please!
The Marvel Guardians of the Galaxy/Defenders (T) offering is going to be a big hit, and with it being the first appearance of the Netflix Defenders in print, it’s likely to be highly sought after!
For our young readers, there really is a ton of great titles, including Disney Descendants (A), Dragon Ball Super (T), Monster High (A), and DC Super Hero Girls (A).

GPG: Special Deals:
CC: Back issues are a specialty here at Comic Carnival, and we always have people asking when our next sale on them will be. Wait no longer, because on FCBD we will be having a 20% off sale on all our floor-stock back issues! In addition, our discount comics will be only $0.50, and we’ll have a special section of discount trade paperbacks.

GPG: Activities for the Day:
CC: Local artist Terence Muncy will talk to attendees, sign his Sammy Terry comics, and show off his awesome merchandise.

A cosplay expert in costume to talk to attendees about what it takes to tour the pro-circuit, and give advice on making your own costumes.

GPG: What would you most want to highlight in an article featuring FCBD aimed toward giving parents an inside scoop into this international event?
CC: Comics are a great way to get kids reading. Talking to your child about what they read is a great way to keep the lines of communication open between you. And FREE COMICS are a great way to test the waters to see what might spark your child’s imagination.

GPG: What else would you want to mention about FCBD in your store to parents that we haven’t touched on so far?
CC: Comics aren’t just for kids. We carry a wide variety of comics aimed at adult readers (that doesn’t mean “dirty”). Sci-Fi, Film Noir, Horror, Romance, Humor – these subjects are all available in modern comics.

However, Comic Carnival carries a wide variety of kid-friendly comics in their own section. Children from quite a young age can enjoy looking at the pictures of a comic, and then yearn to be able to read it themselves. Reading together can engage a child long before they can read for themselves.

You can stay updated on Comic Carnival by checking out their Facebook and Twitter pages. 


Vault of Midnight (three locations)
Address: 219 S Main Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Phone: 734-998-1413
Address: 95A Monroe Center NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Phone: 616-776-9013
Address: 1226 Library Street, Detroit, MI 48226
Phone: 313-481-2165
Email: contact (at) vaultofmidnight (dot) com
Store Hours on FCBD: 10:00am – 10:00pm

GPG: What comic books are available for free?
Vault of Midnight: Secret Empire, Wonder Woman Special, Riverdale Special, and many more, over 50 titles!

GPG: How many free items can be picked up?
VOM: 4 comics per person

GPG: Are there any additional free items for spending a minimum amount?
VOM: Other free items will be available with no purchase necessary.

GPG: Staff Picks – Favorites of the free comics offered (by location), including its rating:
VOM: The Incal (M) – TJ from the Detroit store
Star Trek TNG Mirror Broken (A) – Dia from the Detroit store
Dragon Ball Super (T) – Claire from the Ann Arbor store
Ballad of Franklin Bonisteel (T) – Eric from the Ann Arbor store
Buffy the High School Years (A) – Paloma from the Grand Rapids store
SpongeBob Freestyle Funnies (A) – Tony from the Grand Rapids store

GPG: Staff Picks – Highlighting an amazing deal on a product:
VOM: We will have FCBD branded shirts specially priced for the day! Bespoke art created just for Vault of Midnight by Kim Nguyen with design by Phil Wong.

GPG: Special Deals:
VOM: In addition to the free stuff and the giveaways, we’ll be offering super door-buster deals on select board games, apparel, graphic novels, and more. More info about that can be found at vaultofmidnight.com.

GPG: Activities for the Day:
VOM: Kids’ activities – balloons and costumed entertainers
Cosplay contest
Trivia with prizes

GPG: What would you most want to highlight in an article featuring FCBD aimed toward giving parents an inside scoop into this international event?
VOM: The whole day is a blast. People in costumes roaming around, sweet demonstrations and activities happening alongside the line outside, trivia contests running throughout the day.

GPG: Are there specific sales or FCBD activities that reach customers of your stores year-after-year?
VOM: Our trivia contests are always a huge hit! Makes the line just breeze by and prizes are awarded.

GPG: Are there generally kids of all ages in the store?
VOM: Yes, thousands of them.

GPG: Is there one age group more than the other?
VOM: There’s a huge range! Kids of every age, including adult kids.

GPG: Do parents and children come in the store together often/on FCBD?
VOM: The majority of visitors on FCBD are parents with kids in tow.

If you want to find out more and contact one or all of the stores, you can visit the Facebook page for each location: Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, and Detroit. You can also find them on Twitter.


Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse
Address: 2578 Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19125
Phone: 215-427-3300
Email (General Inquiries): amalgamphilly (at) gmail (dot) com
Store Hours on FCBD: 8:00am – 8:00pm

GPG: What comic books are available for free in this store?
Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse: We ordered pretty heavy on the following titles, but we will have a few of most of the FCBD books:
Catalyst Prime, Malika: Warrior Queen, All-New Guardians of the Galaxy #1, Loud House, Star Trek TNG Mirror Broken, Wonder Woman #1 Special Edition.

GPG: How many free items can be picked up?
ACC: 3 per person / 6 per family

GPG: Are there any additional free items for spending a minimum amount?
ACC: 10% OFF entire order for spending $25 or more

GPG: Staff Picks – Favorites of the free comics offered:
ACC: Catalyst Prime (T)
Betty & Veronica #1 (T)
Wonder Woman (T)
Miraculous (A)
I Hate Image (M)
Rick and Morty (T)

GPG: Special Deals:
ACC: 10% OFF entire order for spending $25 or more

GPG: Activities for the Day:
ACC: There will be an artist alley where customers can browse and purchase books and other items from local creators.

GPG: Are there any items you’ve noticed to be popular or highly anticipated among specific age groups?
ACC: Lumberjanes
Steven Universe
The Descendants
Avatar The Last Airbender
Amulet

GPG: What else would you want to mention about FCBD in your store to parents that we haven’t touched on so far?
ACC: We are big on supporting local creators and artists at Amalgam, which is why we feature an Artist’s Alley at every FCBD event.

GPG: Are there generally kids of all ages in the store?
ACC: Yes

GPG: Is there one age group more than the other?
ACC: It is pretty equally distributed age-wise.

GPG: Do parents and children come in the store together often/on FCBD?
ACC: Yes

If you want more information, or you’re interested because you want to grab your coffee and read comic books too, check out Amalgam online on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


Cosmic Comix & Toys
Address: 87 Mellor Ave, Catonsville, MD
Phone: 410-747-3041
Email: ccx (at) cosmiccomix (dot) com
Store Hours on FCBD: 11:00am – 5:00pm

GPG: What comic books are available for free in this store?
Cosmic Comix & Toys: DC Super Hero Girls, Lady Mechanika, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and many more

GPG: How many free items can be picked up?
CCT: Five free comics to the first 1,000 people

GPG: Are there any additional free items for spending a minimum amount?
CCT: Adults get a ticket for a free roll [at the dice table*] with a $10 purchase.

GPG: Special Deals:
CCT: 25% off everything in the store
Super Saver Deals – you’ll find special deals discounted even more than 25% off
Trade Paperbacks – thousands to choose from, just $5.00 each
Hardcovers – hundred to choose from, just $5.00 each

GPG: Activities for the Day:
CCT: *Dice table – for a chance to win all kinds of prizes, every roll is a winner! Kids 12 and under roll free.

Artist Tim Murphy does FREE sketches: 11am – 1pm, 2pm – 4pm.

GPG: Are there generally kids of all ages in the store?
CCT: There are definitely kids of all ages.

GPG: Is there one age group more than the other?
CCT: Not particularly, it’s pretty evenly spread.

GPG: Do parents and children come in the store together often/on FCBD?
CCT: Absolutely!

You can also find Cosmic Comix on Facebook and Twitter.




After learning a bit about the comic books being offered for free and what some stores have planned, are you excited for Free Comic Book Day? Are you going to attend any of these locations, or perhaps another local shop? Please share your thoughts in the comments, and be sure to like and rate this page below.  You can also connect with other parents on the GPG Facebook and Twitter pages.

Now, for a little FCBD trivia of our own. Who knows what May the 4th means in pop culture? If you need any clues, it involves a galaxy far, far away. That’s right, it’s a way to celebrate the famous Star Wars franchise and blurt out in a Wookiee warrior cry, “May the 4th be with you,” or at least grumble something to that effect. Trust me, if your kids are young enough, they’ll love hearing a little Chewie. Who do you think gets imitated more: Chewie, Darth Vader, Yoda, or Admiral Ackbar? Let’s discuss on Twitter using #geekyparentguide and #starwarsmostimitated.

Stay tuned for what’s next on the Geeky Parent Guide – the summer series returns with Pt 2: Theme Parks and Science Centers. The GPG will travel across the United States to share different activities in different parts of the country. If you’re interested in a long road trip or an extended stay at a place near you, don’t forget to mark your calendars for the next episode in two weeks.

What kind of summer activities do you like to do with your family? What locations or rides do you think will make the list?

Until then, happy geeking and happy parenting.


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