Saturday 7th May is Free Comic Book Day – the day many specialist comic shops across the UK join with stores across the world to promote our industry by offering a range of free comics to attract, potentially, many new customers.
As the name implies, Free Comic Book Day is a single day when participating comic book specialty shops across North America and around the world give away comic books absolutely free to anyone who comes into their shops.
Held the first Saturday in May each year, yes, the comics offered are really free, although different shops have policies on how many free comics you can receive. But you will receive at least one free comic if you enter a participating shop location. Check with your retailer for their policies and plans for FCBD.
Not every comic book store in the world doing this. Don’t expect your local corner shop or WH Smiths to take kindly to you trying to walk out with the latest Beano or 2000AD (and anyway, there are specific comics that are being given away – see the official website, detailed below, for the list). This event celebrates the independent comic book specialty shops. Each one is unique in its community, with a style and personality all its own, and each one carries a full line of comics, graphic novels, toys and related products.
Free Comic Book Day is administered by a panel representing all parts of the comic book industry: retailers, publishers, suppliers, and Diamond Comic Distributors. Each year, publishers apply to provide comic books at cost to retailers, who in turn give them away for free. Diamond handles marketing and logistics for the event, shipping comics to shops and handling marketing and PR for the event.
While the organisers of FCBD hope every one of these shops will take part, each shop determines on its own whether or not to participate. You can check their shop locator for a comic shop near you.
– To find out if there’s a shop near you taking part, visit: www.FreeComicBookDay.com, which has a shop locator service that will show you participating retailers in your area.
– Some digital distributors, such as www.graphic.ly, are also taking part in the event
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.