Guest blog written by @jetpackcomics own @jonwahizzle
What’s Free Comic Book Day?
Well I’m glad you asked! Free Comic Book Day is an international event that celebrates the things that keep my cat fed: COMIC BOOKS! It takes place during the first Saturday in May, and we like to think of it as the official start of summer. Naturally we get a lot of questions on what this day is, and how to properly prepare for it. Well, lucky for you, Jetpack has 11 years of experience with Free Comic Book Day (or FCBD as I’m going to call it from now on, and not just because I’m already tired of typing the whole thing out).
Some stores, like ours, turn FCBD into a massive event, complete with special guests, vendors, and costume contests. Others keep it simple with a small set up. Regardless of how your shops celebrate the day, there are a lot of things to keep in mind. First things first, here’s a tip that will save you a lot of weird looks from your local comic shop employee:
All of the comic books in the store are not free.
Despite what the name of the event says, every book in your lovely comic book store is not up for grabs. However, there are free comic books! Almost every comic book publisher puts out a select few titles that give new readers a taste of what comic books they put out. Publishers will often try to tie it into whatever comic book movie is coming out that summer (Marvel has a Guardians of the Galaxy comic this year, and DC will have a Wonder Woman special). Other times companies will have special issues of major upcoming events or their best selling titles as a way to draw in new readers. Hell, there’s even some shops that will put out extra comics for free as well.
The list of FCBD books grows every year, so it’s wise to take a look at what books will be available that day and figure out which ones you want. A lot of stores will put a limit on the free books to ensure that everyone gets what they want. Having an idea of what books you are interested in not only helps you feel more prepared for the day, it also helps the line move faster, which will make you a hero in the eyes of the people working the event.
Just like going to a convention, you should plan on wearing comfortable shoes and bringing snacks and water so you stay hydrated as well! Many shops have lines extending outside their doors, so you’ll be waiting quite a long time at points during the day. And while you are waiting, be nice to the people working the event! Lots of stores have people that are volunteering their time to their local shop, and they aren’t getting paid. So while you may be hot or cranky, try your best to not be rude to the people working (unless they’re rude first, then all bets are off).
Lastly, wherever you go for FCBD, consider purchasing something at the shop you visit. Even though the event is called “Free Comic Book Day” (crap I just wrote it out again), the stores still buy the books that they are giving away for free. So while you are taking in all the costumes and free books, consider picking up a comic, trade, toy, or game at the shop you are visiting!
So there you have it, a few “Survival Tips” for FCBD! Keep all of these tips in mind, and most importantly, have fun! This is the day to celebrate the one thing that’s keeping all of your favorite movie studios afloat: COMIC BOOKS!