Every year since 2002, there has been Free Comic Book Day on the first Saturday in May. On that day, both new and old fans can get free comics from big, small, and in-between publishers. Free Comic Book Day also coincides with the start of the summer movie season which has been dominated by comic book films lately. For example, Marvel is releasing a short Spider-Man story by Amazing Spider-Man writer Dan Slott to tie in with the release of Amazing Spider-Man 2. Here are a few of the biggest and most interesting comics coming out on Free Comic Book Day, which is taking place on May 3, 2014 this year.
Jump on board DC Comics’ epic weekly series beginning with this all-new FCBD issue that features tomorrow’s Dark Knight, Batman Beyond (making his first appearance in The New 52), battling an army of cyborgs to avert an Apocalypse in the future which could destroy the DC Universe of the present! But that’s not all; there are still more surprises to come. Stay tuned for more details!
DC uses Free Comic Book Day to launch their second weekly series along with Batman Eternal. This free issue should help get readers interested in the series, who are wary about spending money on another weekly series. However, the focus on obscure and underused characters, like Batman Beyond, Frankenstein, and Firestorm, will set this book apart from others in DC’s lineup. This also marks former Green Lantern artist Ethan Van Sciver’s return to interior art, and his detailed work should be a good fit for a book with such a diverse cast of characters in a futuristic setting.
In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Sokka follows Suki as she gives a lesson in manners and encourages a young girl’s strength. Itty Bitty Hellboy has fun toying with nemesis Rasputin, and the Juice Squeezers crew leap into action to defend one of their own against a persistent bully. Hilarity ensues!
Dark Horse releases yet another flip book for Free Comic Book Day and features a mix of licensed and creator owned stories. Avatar: The Last Airbender is one of Dark Horse’s most popular franchises, and this story focuses on fan-favorite comic relief character Sokka. The Avatar part of the comic ids drawn by award-nominated webcomic artist Faith Erin Hicks, who has previously done work on creator owned The Adventures of Superhero Girl as well as a comics prequel to the Last of Us video game. The Itty Bitty Hellboy story by the Eisner-winning Aw Yeah Comics team of Art Baltazar and Franco acts as a kid-friendly introduction to the Mignolaverse. Another Eisner winner David Lapham writes and draws the Juice Squeezers story, which features teenagers fighting against giant bugs. There is something for kids of all ages in Dark Horse’s Free Comic Book Day offering.
In an all-new story by award-winning writer Brian Michael Bendis and acclaimed artist Nick Bradshaw, the Guardians of the Galaxy welcome Venom and Captain Marvel to the team for the launch of a not-to-be-missed death-defying epic! PLUS: Writer Dan Slott lays the foundation for 2014’s top secret Spider-Man event that will rock the Wall Crawler’s world forever!
Marvel’s Free Comic Book Day book acts as a jumping on point for new readers as well as filling the gap for current readers of the Guardians of the Galaxy title. It will answer the question of why Venom is randomly hanging out and shopping for weapons with Drax the Destroyer in Guardians of the Galaxy #14. It might also act as the first encounter that many fans have with the comics version of the Guardians of the Galaxy before the August release of the film. The comic will also include a Spider-Man story by Amazing Spider-Man and Superior Spider-Man writer Dan Slott that will set up the November “Spider-Verse” event featuring every version of Spider-Man created by Marvel. This story might not be as new reader friendly as the Guardians of the Galaxy story, but will be a nice teaser for the fans.
(BOOM!) Kaboom Summer Blast
KaBOOM! Summer Blast is the perfect way to share timeless properties like Peanuts, Garfield, Adventure Time, Regular Show, Steven Universe, and Herobear & The Kid with new readers young and old! KaBOOM! Summer Blast also features the debut of a brand new all-ages series!
As far as variety goes, the Kaboom New Comic Book Day book might have the rest of the companies beat. From classic comic strips (Peanuts, Garfield) to Cartoon Network hits (Adventure Time, Regular Show), this comic shows the almost universal appeal of the Kaboom publishing line from BOOM! The solicit text also promises “the debut of a brand new all-ages series!” which is promising as Kaboom has been responsible for bringing canceled webseries like Bee and Puppycat into comic book form. This comic looks like a showcase of BOOM!’s artistic and writing talent as well as a chance for readers of all ages to get acquainted with some of their new series.
Shigeru Mizuki’s Showa: A History of Japan FCBD 2014 will offer a rare preview of the 2,000 page masterpiece on the history of modern Japan. The D+Q series will be published in four separate volumes throughout 2014 and early 2015 and this special FCBD edition will offer an excerpt of the harrowing period covering World War 2 and beyond. Award-winning author Shigeru Mizuki writes affectingly about the impact on the Japanese populace of world-changing moments including the devastating Second Sino-Japanese War, the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the first half of the Pacific War. Mizuki is one of the early pioneers of manga and is one of the most beloved creators in Japanese comics.
Even though it doesn’t have the big name appeal of Spider-Man or Adventure Time, Showa History of Japan looks like one of the most thought provoking and unique Free Comic Book Day books. Written and drawn by Eisner Award winning manga legend Shigeru Mizuki, this comic has potential to be one of the all-time great non-fiction comics. Mizuki is a master of many different genres of manga ranging from horror (yokai) to memoir and non-fiction, and this could potentially be his masterpiece and a sequential art classic.
(BOOM!) Mouse Guard/Labyrinth/Rust/Bolivar/Farscape Hardcover
When Archaia released their first hardcover FCBD offering two years ago, it was a rousing success with fans and retailers alike. Now they’re doing it again! Readers will get original, all-ages content from a powerhouse lineup of Archaia creators. Plus, the debut of FARSCAPE comics under the Archaia imprint!
Archaia continues to offer readers the best bang for their theoretical Free Comic Book Day buck with yet another hardcover release. Instead of just having a Mouse Guard, this comic looks at some of the other comics in Archaia’s stable, including another Jim Henson comic and a continuation of a cult TV show in the tradition of Buffy Vampire Slayer Season Eight and X-Files Season Ten. The Archaia Free Comic Book Day hardcover also has some short creator owned stories based on previous graphic novels, like Rust, a comic about a boy with a jetpack, and Bolivar, which is about a New York City girl befriending the last dinosaur. These stories have a good mix of science fiction and fantasy in durable packing and continues this year’s Free Comic Book Day focus on readers of all ages.
These are just a few of the great comics you can choose from on Free Comic Book Day (Saturday, May 3, 2014). The rest of the titles as well as preview pages and information about Free Comic Book Day can be found at freecomicbookday.com