Free Comic Book Day 2016

This year marks the fifteenth anniversary of Free Comic Book Day, easily the best name for a very straightforward attempt at getting folks into comic shops and seeing what all the fuss is about. On the first Saturday of May, a variety of publishers, from big names like Marvel and DC to smaller outfits like Nobrow Press and Th3rd World Studios, partner with shops to offer a wide range of exclusive comics. Some books contain all new material, others are mixtape-style samplers of previously released work, and still others offer extended excerpts from new graphic novels. But the one thing that all these comics have in common is that they’re offered 100% free of charge.

one of the many All Ages titles, DC Super Hero Girls
one of the many All Ages titles, DC Super Hero Girls

While supplies last, obviously. And different stores have different policies limiting the number of giveaways. Check out the FCBD website for details on participating stores and, this Saturday, plan on visiting as many as you can! Most shops plan related events, contests, and other frivolity around FCBD. Drag along your uninitiated friend who loves Firefly but won’t pick up a funnybook and stick that Dark Horse freebie in her hands. Dress the kids up in their favorite superhero t-shirts and load them up with All-Ages books like Image’s Oddly Normal or DC’s Super Hero Girls. That guy in your office who won’t shut up about Enter the Dragon and wants to know if you caught this weekend’s UFC bloodfest? There’s a Bruce Lee treat for him as well.

Like music, movies, and ice cream flavors, there’s a comic book for everyone. Here are the FCBD offerings I’m most excited about, including the Previews solicitation information.

Never one to miss an opportunity to Civil War IIcross-promote with their movie releases (especially when these flicks are record-breaking Hollywood blockbusters), Marvel’s big 2016 comic book event is Bendis’s Civil War II. And one of the two books from the House of Ideas this year gets the party started: FCBD Civil War II #1.

Marvel peels back the curtain on their can’t miss FCBD 2016 title… Before hero stands against hero, Brian Michael Bendis and Jim Cheung bring you a snapshot of the conflict that will split the Marvel Universe in two! But that’s not all! Beware the sting of the All-New Wasp! FCBD CIVIL WAR II #1 will also feature a special second story from All-New, All-Different Avengers writer Mark Waid and legendary artist Alan Davis… Not only do you get a lead in to the escalating conflict of Civil War II, but you’ll also be introduced to a big new character as the All-New Wasp rockets into the Marvel Universe.

Cap ABut wait, there’s EVEN more! (I hate how salesman-y these solicitations read. They’re free comics, kids! What more do you want? Okay, more?) Marvel is also giving away FCBD Captain America #1, which sets the table for the new ongoing Steve Rogers series coming out later this month. His youth restored in the pages of the recent Avengers: Standoff event, which also brought the once-Captain Winter Soldier back into action, it’s time to see if Steve can share room on the shelves with two other Caps. So long as that movie franchise is pulling in a bajillion dollars, I’ll wager the answer is yes.

Steve Rogers is returning to comics this May, and you can get your first taste on FREE COMIC BOOK DAY. This issue will get you caught up just in time for the release of Captain America: Steve Rogers #1, coming to comics later in May! Three Captain Americas fought shoulder-to-shoulder in AVENGERS: STANDOFF. Now, one rises to take his place at the forefront of the Marvel Universe! Nick Spencer and Jesus Saiz usher in a new beginning for the nation’s greatest hero!

ROMIDW is bringing two much loved toy properties back to the comic book shelf this year. Last week, we saw the first issue of Micronauts, and this Saturday, courtesy of Christos Gage and Chris Ryall, we’ll all get a preview of the new ROM book.

He strikes from outer space… hurtling Earthward on his dead mission of cosmic vengeance! Rom is back for the first time in decades, and nothing can stop him! This introductory story re-introduces the character and leads into July’s all-new, ongoing series! Plus, in an exclusive prologue to June’s debut issue, the U.K.’s greatest weapon is on the warpath-and the fate of the world is in Action Man’s hands… as usual.

LRLove and Rockets, by Los Bros. Hernandez, isn’t just one of the greatest comic book series of all time, it’s one of the single best artifacts of pop art in our lifetimes. And it’s the book I always give to people who aren’t necessarily comic book people in order to open their eyes to the storytelling potential of the medium. With this FCBD Love and Rockets sampler from Fantagraphics,  I get to do it a whole lot more.

Love and Rockets is one of the most acclaimed and beloved series in comics history, and this summer, Fantagraphics has announced that the series will be rebooted as a quarterly comic book series beginning with a new #1 in July! To celebrate, Fantagraphics is offering up this one-shot sampler featuring classic L&R material by the great Hernandez Brothers, including an all-new cover and several other surprises! A perfect introduction to one of the most wonderful bodies of work in our medium’s history.

BMCWe Can Never Go Home, published by the wonderfully subversive Black Mask Comics, was one of the best and most surprising things I read in 2015. The new 4 Kids Walk into a Bank, which premiered last week, is immediately engaging. This two-sided sampler features stories from two of the studio’s more popular series, which should serve as a great jumping-on point for new readers, or a funnybook introduction for the anarchist anti-corporation friend in your life.

Here’s what you’ll find on Black Mask’s “Mixtape” for FCBD 2016… SIDE A: We Can Never Go Home: “Dead Set On Destruction”-Madison is dangerous. And a little danger is all Morgan and Dale ever wanted. This story bridges the gap between WCNGH Vol. 1 and the upcoming new series. SIDE B: Young Terrorists: “Me Against The World”-Sera learns the hard way you can’t build an army without fighting a few (hundred) cops. Welcome to The Sovereign State of Greater Detroit!

mooncopDrawn & Quarterly, along with Fantagraphics, has been publishing outstanding, literary work in the comics medium for as long as I can remember. I love that they’re both a big part of FCBD, and I’m excited to check out this excerpt from Mooncop, the upcoming Tom Gauld graphic novel.

Penned by the cartoonist of Goliath and You’re All Just Jealous of My Jetpack, this FCBD offering features an exclusive excerpt from Tom Gauld’s all-new graphic novel Mooncop, plus a selection of short humor strips. Mooncop details the deadpan day-to-day adventures of the last policeman on the colonized moon. Support good comics and see why Tom Gauld has regular comics in the Guardian, New York Times and the New Yorker! It’s simple: he’s brilliant and funny.

dhorseIf you scan the list of FCBD offerings this year, you might think that every comic book series is a licensed offshoot of some other property. Hell, there’s even a Strawberry Shortcake comic. And, yes, licensed property stuff is usually pretty lame. But Dark Horse Comics has built a reputation over the last several decades of taking great genre properties and turning them into great comics. This triple-feature sampler should attest to that. And one of the properties – Mike Mignola’s Hellboywas a fantastic Dark Horse comic long before it was a Guillermo del Toro movie.

Need a reason to pick up Dark Horse Comics’ 2016 Free Comic Book Day offering? Here’s three: From Mike Mignola and Richard Corben, a lesson from Hellboy’s past is shared. From Brian Wood, a peek into the Aliens: Defiance series with an original tale. And from the world of Joss Whedon, a glimpse at the crew of the Serenity, following the film and the smash-hit series Leaves on the Wind!