This Saturday is Free Comic Book Day, the day when, duh, participating comics shops give away free comics to anyone who walks in. You can find the comic shop closest to you here. Some things to know:
If you’re looking for a good book, try the FCBD edition of the first issue of Archie, by Mark Waid and Fiona Staples. I reviewed it when it came out back in July of last year. It’s a surprisingly great high school drama with interesting characters and it drops you in the middle of a compelling story.
Other must-grabs include Mooncop, a sampler of comics by the very funny cartoonist Tom Gauld; Help the CBLDF…Defend Comics, a promotional book from the free speech advocates at the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund including comics by Craig Thompson and Lucy Knisley; the Love and Rockets Sampler Edition from Fantagraphics — if you haven’t read Love and Rockets, this is the one you have to take home — and March, a comic book history of the civil rights movement by Congressman John Lewis.
Some other intriguing titles include Z2 Comics Lab, We Can Never Go Home/Young Terrorists, and Camp Midnight, an all-ages story about a girl who accidentally gets sent to a summer camp for monsters. Really, if something looks interesting to you, you should grab it. After all, it’s free.
Also, as I mentioned on this site earlier this week, you should absolutely be reading Ms. Marvel, which is written by local author G. Willow Wilson. Wilson will be signing books at Phoenix Comics on Broadway from 12 to 3 pm on Free Comic Book Day, and she’ll be joined by Brooke Allen of the very fun comic Lumberjanes and Zach Davisson, a translator of Japanese comics.
If you’re looking to visit Arcane Comics this FCBD, you should be advised that earlier this week, the shop moved from Ballard to 152nd and Aurora up in Shoreline. Their new address is 15202 Aurora Ave N, Shoreline, WA, 98133. Arcane has always been one of the friendliest, best-stocked comics shops in town, and so you should definitely drop by and show your support.
If you regularly buy comics, you can absolutely take part in FCBD. But you should also remember that Free Comic Book Day isn’t free for shop owners; they have to buy the comics you’re taking. So if you're already a comics supporter, it’s polite to buy something — the first issue of a graphic novel series you’ve been interested in trying, say. Think of it as a subsidy: your purchase is helping to pay for the comic books that are bringing in the new readers who will help keep your comics shop thriving for years to come. Most local shops make FCBD easy on your wallet. Comics Dungeon in Wallingford is having a fairly expansive sale, for instance, and so is Dreamstrands Comics in Greenwood. Phoenix Comics is letting customers roll the dice to determine their discounts. And Fantagraphics Bookstore and Gallery in Georgetown is serving wedding cake.
Visit more than one shop. Seattle has a vibrant comics community in large part because it’s packed full of well-stocked comics shops staffed by friendly salespeople. FCBD is a time to celebrate this wonderful resource. Have fun. Be an unapologetic nerd. Go find a new comic to love.