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For more than a decade, the first Saturday of May every year has been the home of Free Comic Book Day, an annual celebration of the comic book medium that sees participating retailers across the U.S. (and internationally) open their doors for fans and newcomers alike with over 50 titles available to sample for the fine, fine price of zero dollars.
Originally proposed by retailer Joe Field in 2001, the first FCBD was held the following year during the opening weekend for Sony’s first Spider-Man movie; successive years’ events have tended to tie in with comic book movie openings, although not every year has fallen into that pattern.
This year, publishers such as Marvel, DC and Image Comics are releasing multiple titles to act as introductory points to series, characters or storylines in the year ahead. A full list of releases can be found here, but of particular interest for those looking for movie-centric releases, Marvel has two Guardians of the Galaxy releases (Guardians of the Galaxy and Rocket Raccoon), both of which also include Spider-Man-related material in back. Viz Media, meanwhile, has a preview of its All You Need Is Kill adaptation of the same source material as the upcoming Tom Cruise vehicle Edge of Tomorrow.
Other transmedia properties represented include Avatar the Last Airbender, which represents one of two releases from Dark Horse Comics; Disney’s Donald Duck; Spongebob Squarepants; The Simpsons (in the Bongo Free-for-All issue); Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time, Steven Universe and Regular Show (in Kaboom! Summer Blast!); Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers and Hello Kitty.
One of the most fun releases of the day is IDW’s Transformers vs. G.I. Joe, which recasts the Hasbro properties as a 1970s-cosmic-comic-influenced epic (complete with the origin of Snake Eyes), while independent properties are well-represented by the likes of Ed Piskor‘s Hip Hop Family Tree Two-in-One and anthology title 2000AD Special.
No matter what your taste, it’s safe to say that you’ll find something worth reading — with 57 releases available, it would be difficult not to. Participating stores in the U.S. and Canada can be found via the event’s store locator, so go and check out a store tomorrow and see what takes your fancy. After all, what else were you going to do with your Saturday?