Do you love comics? If so, then you’re going to love Free Comic Book Day! This is an annual event that takes place every year on the first Saturday of May. It’s a great opportunity to get your hands on some free comics and support your local comic book store. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about Free Comic Book Day. We will dive into what Free Comic Book Day is, if Free Comic Book Day Comics are valuable, and free comic book day etiquette.
In this article you will receive the answers to the following questions:
- How did Free Comic Book Day start?
- Who is Diamond Distributors?
- What Publishers Participate in Free Comic Book Day?
- Are Comic Book Stores Near Me Participating in FCBD?
- Free Comic Books, Are They Valuable?
- What is Free Comic Book Day Etiquette?
How did Free Comic Book Day start?
Every year on the first Saturday of May, thousands of comic book stores worldwide participate in Free Comic Book Day or FCBD as some like to call it. Millions and millions (say that like “the Rock”) of free comic books are gifted away to comic readers and collectors.
The goal is to grow the industry and introduce readers and collectors to new titles as well as new publishers. In hopes that casual fans will become hardcore enthusiasts and support their local comic book shop.
After doing a little research I found out that Joe Field suggested in August of 2001, in and issue of Comics & Games Retailer magazine the idea of Free Comic Book Day. In 2002 Free Comic Book Day was born, due in large part to the efforts of Diamond Comic Distributors.
Something to note is originally the only participating stores for Free Comic Book Day were in North America. It has sense spread and is now a Global event.
Who Are Diamond Comic Distributors?
Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc. is a North American and worldwide comic book distributor. Diamond Comic Distributors (DCD) is a company that purchases and distributes comic books, graphic novels, and other popular culture items such as toys, games, and apparel.
Geppi Family Enterprises owns Diamond Comic Distributors. Kind-of-wild to think that a single family (the Geppi Family) has pretty much a monopoly on comic distribution in North America. That’ll make for an interesting article in the future so I’ll be sure to dive into how and why that is the case.
I’ve had the pleasure of having a few of my series distributed by Diamond Comic Distributors. Most recently my Oblivion Trials series (currently in previews as of the writing of this article) and previously my Skylin series (still available through the publisher).
My Skylin series was delayed getting to shops due in large part to the pandemic. DCD communicated with creators and publishers during the entire lock down and I’m grateful for that. Something to note is Diamond Distributors did everything they could during such difficult times to stay afloat, while championing the local comic book store, even though most were forced to close up shop due to state regulations.
It’s safe to say both DCD and Local Comic Book Shops have bounced back sense those dark day and the most recent FCBD is a testament to that.
What Publishers Participate in Free Comic Book Day?
Many comic book publishers want to participate in Free Comic Book Day, but sadly not all can. Diamond Distributors has a say in who can and can’t participate. In order to get readers in stores to purchase new titles, they need to lean on top publishers to offer up free comics.
I will say they’ve done a great job of mixing in large and small publishers over the years. The event is great for exposure for the small to medium comic book publisher, giving them the opportunity to create brand recognition.
Another thing I find FCBD to be doing is getting a lot of casual fans interested in publishers they’ve never heard of before, and stories that are outside of the traditional super hero genre. After all, Superheroes are not the only characters gracing the interior pages of comic books.
FCBD publishers are broken down into two categories:
- Gold Comics
- Silver Comics
FCBD Gold Comics
According to the Free Comic Book Day website:
“The Gold Sponsor titles come from the industry’s top publishers, including Image Comics, BOOM! Studios, Dark Horse Comics, IDW Publishing, Archie Comics, AWA Studios, Marvel Comics, Scholastic, Kodansha Comics, Titan Comics, and VIZ Media.”
FCBD Silver Comics
The Silver Comics category are a mix of small to medium size publishers that offer the bulk of free comics on FCBD. Publishers like 10 Ton Press, Vault Comics, Aftershock Comics, Red 5 Comics, Scout Comics, Mad Cave Studios, Source Point Press and Valiant Entertainment.
It’s definitely nice to find Source Point Press among the list of publishers that were selected for FCBD in 2022, obviously I am a little biased of course. They did published the two series I listed above that I had a hand in writing.
Are comic book stores near me participating in Free Comic Book Day?
I highly suggest supporting your local comic book shop on this day. Some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met were in a comic book shop. If you need the location of a store in your area for FCBD, use this link RIGHT HERE.
Are Free Comic Book Day Comics Valuable?
Are free comics valuable? In short, I find the answer to be a resounding yes. Certainly some of the older FCBD comics are worth a lot of money, depending on the condition you find them in.
However the amount of money you can make off of a free book isn’t the real value when it comes to this event.
I believe in my heart of hearts that the real value in FCBD is the amount of new readers this special day has created. Even though the event is only held annually, it creates new comic book fans for a lifetime.
Kids can grab a book from Marvel Comics and learn about Doctor Strange for the very first time, or someone might find a new favorite publisher they’ve never heard of. It could be someones first time ever in a comic book store and they get caught up in all the excitement and buy a ton of books to read, helping support their local comic book shop. The opportunities are truly limitless.
What is FCBD Etiquette?
Everyone loves to get something free. Free makes us feel like winners. Free is something to get excited about. But don’t expect to stroll into your LCBS on the first Saturday of May and grab every FCBD book.
Each location only gets so many copies. So grab a couple you like and leave some for the person behind you. Some stores set a limit you can take, I know my local shop allows you to grab 4 books.
Make sure to support your LCBS. It’s a good idea to pick up a couple books that cost money while you’re there. After all the shop is not making anything off the free books you’re grabbing. Be kind to your host.
Book Signings on FCBD
Something else I want to point out is a lot of creators in the comics industry do book signings at shops on that day. This adds to the overall experience and excitement of FCBD. Something I like, is you may just meet the artists or writer who brought your favorite series to life. I’ve met plenty of different creators whom I never heard of before and got turned onto a series I knew nothing about prior.
I have been able to do some signings on this amazing day in the past. It’s a great experience from a creator standpoint and amazing exposure for your series due to the foot traffic FCBD offers. If you’re a creator, reach out to a shop owner and see if they’ll let you do a signing on that day.
Wrapping this all up. Hopefully I was able to give you a better understanding of what Free Comic Book Day is all about. Maybe now you know why it’s important and how you can make the most of it.
It’s an amazing event that happens every year and I highly recommend you participate in it.
Let me know in the comments below, what excites YOU the most about FCBD?
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