Free Comic Book Day: a holiday for all of us. For the past 15-years, the first Saturday in May has been a day of celebratory gathering for comic book fans. Once a year, fans from all over get together in their local comic shop and celebrate their passion for comic book collecting.
Then annual tradition began in 2002. I remember I was at my local shop at the time and there was little to no fanfare about it, just a stack of books marked with the FCBD logo on a table. I remember I picked up the FCBD edition of Ultimate Spider-Man # 1.
In 2003, I picked up my favorite FCBD find of all, a reprint of Ultimate X-Men #1. No idea why, but I have fond memories of picking up this book. Guess it reminds me of a better time in comic book collecting. I just feel warm inside thinking about it.
For the first few years, I would say comic stores had the books out, but that was it. However, around the mid-00s, stores began making the day an event. The store I go to now, Rubber Chicken Comics in Bellingham, MA, has a big sale every year (25% off everything!). It gets a ton of people to come (some in costume) to the store every year.
Not only have the retailers changed their approach to Free Comic Book Day, so has the industry. In the beginning, the select books made specifically for Free Comic Book Day were just reprints of popular books. Now, fans look forward to exclusive, original books.
This year, we have a Secret Empire tie-in from Marvel. In years past, we had a peak into DC Convergence as well as an original Guardians of the Galaxy book that featured Venom joining the team…
…as well as a set-up to the mini-series Age of Ultron in 2012.
For me, the sense of community is the best aspect of Free Comic Book Day. Yeah, connecting with other fans online is fine, but that doesn’t even match coming face to face with other comic fans in person.
I am glad there is a holiday of sorts for us comic fans. Some people may feel alone in their hobby, but it is always great to know there are others who share the same passion and enthusiasm you do for comic books. I remember the days when it wasn’t cool to say you collected comics. Now, we celebrate it.
What are your favorite aspects of Free Comic Book Day? Let me know in the comment section below!