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Comic book lovers, rejoice! Saturday, May 5 is Free Comic Book Day (FCBD), which means that you can walk into any participating store and obtain one or more of the graphic novels being offered for free! Now in its 16th year, the global event, celebrated annually on the first Saturday of May, is the brainchild of California resident Joe Field.
The owner of Flying Colors Comics & Other Cool Stuff came up with the idea in 2001 after noticing the long line of people waiting outside the Baskin Robbins next to his store on “Free Cone Day.” Believing it would help entice people of all ages to visit their neighborhood store and revive interest in comic books, he reached out to other retailers. While most store owners were receptive, it took Field some time to convince them to buy titles specially published for the occasion instead of giving away old comic books that were not selling. Not surprisingly, the idea was a huge success. Retailers estimate that over 12 million graphic novels have been given away since FCBD began in 2002, and the numbers are only growing.
Among the 52 offerings this year are Avengers Captain America, untold stories from the popular television show Riverdale, DC SuperHero Girls, and Transformers Unicron. Younger comic book fans can select from titles like Disney Princess Ariel Spotlight and Boom Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Marvel comic book villain Venom, Sony Pictures is distributing 2,500 posters signed by the artist, Dan LuVisi, to FBCD participating retailers across the United States. Thirty lucky fans will also receive an exclusive print signed by Academy Award Nominee Tom Hardy, who plays Venom in the upcoming on-screen adaptation, scheduled for release on October 5, 2018.
Given that vendors discount most store merchandise on this day, a visit to your local store may be worthwhile even if the free comic books do not appeal to you. To find your nearest participating retailer and see a list of all the titles that will be available, check out freecomicbookday.com.