Worried you spent too much money this week at the comic shop because of new releases like the Amazing Spider-Man, Southern Bastards, and Batman ’66? Well, this Saturday comic book shops across the country are hoping to ease the pain on comic fan wallets while adding to their collections with the 13th annual Free Comic Book Day.
Free Comic Book Day started in 2002, and has grown to include some 2,000 comic shops nationwide. The mission of the day is to bring individuals into independent comic shops, and to create a new set of comic book fans. This year almost 60 comic books will be available for absolutely free to those who venture into their local comic shop.
The number of comic books you can pick for free depends on the shop you enter, so choosing the right titles (my shop has a limit of three per person) may seem like a daunting task with so many titles available. Here are the three titles (plus a couple of back-ups) that I am hoping to pick-up this Saturday.
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency hearings that eventually led to the establishment of the infamous Comics Code Authority. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has gathered several writers and artists including Sergio Aragones and Frank Van Lente to bring us stories about the history of comic book censorship, and the creation of “The Comics Code.”
The CBLDF will also have available Raising a Reader: How Comics & Graphic Novels Can Help Your Kids Love to Read! which is intended for parents and educators, and continues the CBLDF’s efforts to raise awareness that comic books can be helpful for young readers.
This cover has two things going for it. First, it is an homage to the Marvel Two-In-One series that ran from 1974 to 1983, and had the Fantastic Four’s the Thing teaming up with a different Marvel superhero in each issue. Secondly, it features Afrika Bambaataa, the creator of electro funk, and one of the “godfathers” of hip hop.
While I don’t think this issue will have The Thing and Afrika Bambaataa teaming up to defeat Dr. Doom, it will feature two stories from writer and artist Ed Piskor’s acclaimed Hip Hop Family Tree series. Two volumes of Hip Hop Family Tree covering the origination of hip hop in the 1970’s to 1983 have been released by Fantagraphics Books.
Drawn & Quarterly is offering this preview of the upcoming four-volume Showa: History of Japan series, written and drawn by manga legend Shigeru Mizuki. Over his almost 60 years in manga, Mizuki has written about his time serving with the Japanese army during World War II, a biography of Adolf Hitler, and the popular yokai series GeGeGe no Kitaro.
The first volume of this series will be released in October starting in 1926 with the events leading up to Japan’s involvement in World War II. This preview issue will contain an excerpt from the second volume which covers World War II.
Marvel’s favorite genetically modified raccoon, Rocket Raccoon, is set to have a big year with the release of the Guardians of the Galaxy movie, and a new series by fan favorite Skottie Young, who will be handling both writing and art duties. In this issue Rocky is teaming up with old pals Groot and Wal Rus (yes, he’s a walrus) to battle old foe Blackjack O’Hare.
A separate Guardians of the Galaxy issue will also be available, with the team joining forces with Venom and Captain Marvel on a galactic adventure. This issue is written by Brian Michael Bendis, and contains a back-up story by Dan Slott with future implications for Spider-Man.
Archaia released the first hardcover for Free Comic Book Day in 2012, and it was a huge success. This anthology will contain original Mouse Guard, Jim Henson’s Labyrinth, Rust, and An Aurora Grimeon Story: Will O’ The Wisp stories. Plus, a preview of the upcoming Bolivar graphic novel that will not be released until 2015. The big news with this anthology is the inclusion of the first Archaia story involving the Farscape universe.
Even if these comics are no longer available, Free Comic Book Day will surely have something else of interest to pick up. For fans of The Boondock Saints, writer/director Troy Duffy has written a new story starring the MacManus Brothers that will be included with Sherwood Texas, which may be for the Sons of Anarchy or Renegade fan in your household. If you need something for the little ones, there are more than a dozen titles featuring everyone from the Smurfs to Hello Kitty that should help make them happy.
Remember Free Comic Book Day is supposed to be a lot of fun. If the comics you were hoping to pick up aren’t available, don’t fret because maybe you’ll end up going home with something you didn’t know you would like. So gas up the fantasticar, buckle in the kids, and make the journey to your local comic shop this Saturday. You’ll end up going home with some cool comics, and who knows — maybe you’ll even see a couple guys dressed up like Batman.