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Free Comic Book Day Comic Highlights

Free Comic Book Day

As Esther previously wrote, this coming Saturday, May 5, is this year’s Free Comic Book Day. There are 50 different comics that could potentially be available at participating stores, so this is necessarily a brief rundown of the Gold Sponsor All Ages titles.

Also, please remember that this national holiday for comics is free to customers, but retailers do have to buy the titles (at a reduced cost). Many stores will have special events, including sales, so if you attend, consider making a purchase.

There are 12 Gold Sponsor titles. The Gold Sponsors are well-known comic publishers, and comic book stores have to buy a certain amount of these books in order to officially participate in the event. (The various comics for the event are selected by a retailer committee. Diamond Distributors reported that over 91 titles were submitted this year.)

Comics Friends Forever

Comics Friends Forever (First Second) – An outstanding sampler, with excerpts from the new and great graphic novels Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol and All Summer Long by Hope Larson as well as some older books, including Real Friends by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham. Very much geared to drive purchases; the quality of the selections makes the reader want more.

DC Super Hero Girls (DC) – I’m a huge fan of this series, and this first part of the Date With Disaster graphic novel serves as a terrific introduction to the characters, as do the character profile pages in the back. The heroes have to figure out what caused a building explosion while Batgirl worries about her dad dating.

Disney Princess Ariel Spotlight (Joe Books) – A collection of four-panel comic strips featuring the red-headed mermaid. Silly jokes, most about music (so Sebastian the crab can wisecrack) or finding human objects, but fun to share with a little one who loves princesses.

Doctor Who #0 (Titan Comics) – A nice little sampler with three chapters promoting the tie-in comics: a summary of Gabby’s time with the Tenth Doctor; an introduction to the Seventh Doctor and Ace, who will soon have their own comic; and Alice making a snack for the Eleventh Doctor. Best for those who are already familiar with the TV series, but there’s more of those than there used to be.

Invader Zim Floopsy Bloops Shmoopsy (Oni Press) – Around now, you might be noticing that there are a lot of licensed titles and media tie-ins, presumably under the theory that new readers will then be motivated to learn to read comics. This is a reprint of Invader Zim #20. (Because FCBD is for new readers, so reprints, as with DC Super Hero Girls, are new to them and economical for publishers.)

Pokemon: Sun and Moon / Pokemon Horizon: Sun and Moon (Viz Media) – A manga title, but also a tie-in. Reads right to left, which some may find a curiosity. Incomprehensible to someone not already part of the phenomenon.

The following Gold publishers did not put out All-Ages titles:

  • Archie – their Riverdale tie-in is for teens, as is the TV show, with spooky happenings remembered by Pop Tate
  • Boom! – a Mighty Morphin Power Rangers tie-in for teens
  • Dark Horse – a video game/superhero book for teens (some rough language)
  • IDW – their Transformers comic is for teens
  • Image – not really their audience; their book is rated for mature readers
  • Marvel – their Avengers/Captain America book is for teens; that’s a disappointment, since lots of kids will be interested, and having to tell them (and their parents) it’s not for all ages is difficult (particularly since the event is held the first Saturday in May because that’s usually when a Marvel movie hits theaters).

Regardless of the comics you choose, have a great Free Comic Book Day, and don’t forget to thank your local comic book store!

Johanna About Johanna

Johanna Draper Carlson has been reviewing comics for over 20 years. She manages, the longest-running independent review site online that covers all genres of comic books, graphic novels, and manga. She has an MA in popular culture, studying online fandom, and was previously, among many other things, webmaster for DC Comics. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin.

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