Saturday, May 7, is Free Comic Book Day, with participating stores around the world offering special releases from Marvel, DC, Image and many other publishers for the low, low cost of “free” in an attempt to pull new and lapsed readers to the medium once more.
With 50 releases on offer — a full list can be found here — it’s possible that readers will be forced to pick and choose as to what they’re going to go home with (especially considering some retailers limit availability; the titles are free to customers, but they have to pay for each copy, after all). With that in mind, here are five titles worth a special look.
Boom! Studios Summer Blast FCBD 2016 Edition (Boom! Studios)
Boom! pushes its all-ages line with an anthology that combines previews of existing, award-winning series such as Adventure Time and Lumberjanes with new launches (teen detective series Goldie Vance and forthcoming graphic novel The Cloud) and two brand-new complete stories from David Petersen’s Mouse Guard and the comic book version of Jim Henson’s Labyrinth. From Noelle Stevenson to Ryan North and beyond, Boom! has proven itself to be a platform for creators on their way to big things — consider this primer a taste of things to come.
Captain America #1FCBD 2016 Edition (Marvel)
Marvel’s primary Free Comic Book Day offering this year is the first Civil War II issue — which actually comes out a month prior to the comic calling itself Civil War II No. 1, and is actually the third part of the story — but this teaser for the new Captain America: Steve Rogers series is likely to be the more enjoyable of its releases for the day. Writer Nick Spencer has brought a surprisingly light feel to companion title Captain America: Sam Wilson, and given the chance to play with the original Cap, it’ll be interesting to see where he goes. With artist Jesus Saiz on board, it’ll be sure to look great, no matter what. Also in this issue: a preview of this year’s big Spider-Man storyline, “Dead No More.”
DC Super Hero Girls #1 FCBD 2016 Edition (DC)
Supporting the merchandise brand created to offer female-friendly content based around DC’s superhero properties, the Free Comic Book Day edition of DC Super Hero Girls previews the July Finals Crisis graphic novel and centers around Supergirl — a smart move, considering the character’s pop-culture prominence thanks to her CBS show. Very definitely aimed at the young market, there’s also a FCBD release from the publisher for older fans — a reprint of Sept. 2011’s Suicide Squad No. 1, to publicize this August’s Suicide Squad movie.
Love and Rockets Sampler FCBD 2016 Edition (Fantagraphics)
Ahead of the relaunch of the classic comic book series as a quarterly anthology this summer, Fantagraphics releases a primer for those who have never encountered Los Bros Hernandez before, reprinting classic stories by Jaime and Gilbert in addition to what is being called “other surprises.” There’s no way to get around this: If you’re a comic reader and you haven’t read any Love & Rockets before, this is a must-read. The series is easily one of the highlights of the medium over the past three decades, and any and all opportunities to get into it should be grabbed tightly with both hands.
Z2 Comics Lab!!! FCBD 2016 Edition (Z2 Comics)
There’s a lot to be enjoyed in the Z2 sampler — six different strips, in fact, including Welcome to Showside, Legend and the wonderfully over-the-top Hyper Force Neo. With a wide diversity of material and styles on display, it’s a taster that makes Z2 seem like an interesting publisher disinclined to stay in one lane when it comes to what comics look like, although it’s possible that not every strip will appeal to every reader. Nonetheless, definitely one of the more diverse releases for the day.
Find out where the closest participating store is here.