Free Comic Book Day 2017: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Free Comic Book Day 2017, Free Comic Book Day 2017 list, Free Comic Book Day Participating stores

Free Comic Book Day 2015 at a store in Smithtown, New York. (Photo by Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for DC Entertainment)

Today is the first Saturday of May, which can mean only one thing: Free Comic Book Day! It’s like Record Store Day in that it also helps promote small businesses, but it’s not like that holiday because exclusive comics are free!

Free Comic Book Day began in 2002 and is sponsored by Diamond Comic Distributors, the largest distributor in the industry. Thanks to the “first Saturday in May” rule, the holiday also usually coincides with a big-budget comic book movie release. This year, it’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2.

To find out if you have a local comic book shop participating in the holiday, click here to go to Diamond’s Store Locator and enter your zip code. The full list of books available can be found here.

Here’s what you need to know about Free Comic Book Day 2017.


1. Comic Book Stores Still Have to Pay to Stock the Free Comic Books, So Don’t Just Get the Free Ones

Free Comic Book Day: What is it?Free Comic Book Day is the first Saturday in May. It's an International Event that celebrates comic books and the local comic shops that provide them to their communities. Visit a participating comic shop on May 4th, 2013 for your FREE COMICS! http://www.freecomicbookday.com/StoreLocator2013-03-11T13:51:49.000Z

Participating in Free Comic Book Day is no easy enterprise and it’s why not every shop participates. As NPR points out, stores do have to pay for the comic books they stock. That’s also why not all 52 FCBD books will be stocked at every store participating.

Some stores will let you pick and choose which books you want to take, while others pack them together as samplers. Many publishers also leave a blank space on covers for stores to stamp their logos on.

Marvel Free Comic Book Day, Marvel Secret Empire, Marvel FCBD

Marvel’s FCBD book includes Secret Empire #1 and Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #1. (Previews)

Many publishers, including Marvel and DC Comics, offer reprints. For example, one of Marvel’s free books is a reprint of Secret Empire #1. One of DC’s books is a reprint of Wonder Woman #2, which is the first chapter of Greg Rucka’s “Year One” story, in which he re-told Princess Diana’s origin. It’s a great introduction before the movie comes out.

Some indie publishers, like Dark Horse and BOOM! Studios, offer sampler books, which include two or more excerpts from full comics.


2. Archie Fans Get ‘Betty & Veronica’ & ‘Riverdale’ Comics This Year

Unboxing Free Comic Book Day 2017 at Stadium Comics – See all the FREE books here! FCBDFor books available on FREE COMIC BOOK DAY which is on Saturday May 6th 2017! Stadium Comics runs one of the largest Free Comic Book Day events in North America, and this year is no exception! In this episode we run through all of the FCBD books, plus we discuss what will be going on…2017-04-30T11:11:19.000Z

It’s a great time to be an Archie Comics fan. Archie Andrews, America’s Favorite Teenager, has been experiencing a renaissance in recent years thanks to Archie Comics’ openness to constantly reinvent the character. Last year, artist Adam Hughes took over the reigns of Betty & Veronica, bringing his own unique art style to the Archie universe. The first issue was reprinted for FCBD.

Fans of The CW’s Riverdale will want to pick up the Riverdale one-shot. It acts as a prelude to the series, which will be ending its first season this week after we learned who killed Jason Blossom. The one-shot issue is also a reprint and includes two short stories that tell us who Archie and Betty spent their summer before Jason was killed. We also learn more about how Veronica lived a life of luxury in New York before she moved.

Other must-have books from this year’s FCBD include ONI’s Rick and Morty, Valiant’s X-O Manowar special, IDW’s Star Trek: The Next Generation – Mirror Broken and VIZ’s The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.

There are also plenty of books for young children. Kidds can enjoy comics with Barbie, DC Super Hero Girls, Spongebob Freestyle Funnies, Underdog and Disney Descendants.


3. FCBD Was Invented in 2001 By Joe Field, a Store Owner in Concord, California

A Comic Show: Free Comic Book Day 2017Hey Fandom! Free Comic Book Day is coming May 6th, and here I talk about the biggest books you can get free at your local comic shop, as well as a few exclusive products on sale that day like the Gold Iron Fist Funko Pop. I also talk about the specific prizes, sales, contests, and…2017-04-22T17:30:16.000Z

Joe Field, who owns Flying Colors Comics & Other Cool Stuff in Concord, California is credited with creating FCBD in 2001. Field suggested it as a way to revitalize an industry that was still struggling to recover from a late 1990s bust. Jim Valentino, the Image Comics publisher at the time, suggested having the holiday on May 4, 2002, the same day Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man film opened.

“I thought if an ice cream store could draw a crowd for a free scoop, then we could sure draw a crowd for a free comic book because comics are even cooler than ice cream!” Field told Quality Logo Products. “So I wrote out the idea to make my deadline and had the foresight to send the column around before it got published so industry reaction could be published alongside the article. With tons of positive feedback from all facets of the comics business, FCBD took off!”

Since FCBD began, only the 2004 edition of the holiday was held outside May. It was moved to July to coincide with Spider-Man 2‘s opening. In 2005 and 2006, it was moved back to May, even though there were no comic book movies opening on the same weekend. But since 2007, there has always been at least one comic book movie for the holiday to celebrate.


4. FCBD Is International, With Comic Shops Outside the U.S. Taking Part

Tom Holland Encourages Fans to Participate in Free Comic Book Day!With Free Comic Book Day right around the corner, Tom Holland (Spider-Man) encourages fans to participate in the event. Marvel Comics has two titles available: Secret Empire #1 featuring the new Spectacular Spider-Man series and All-New Guardians of the Galaxy #1 featuring the new Defenders series. Find your participating local comic shop here: http://www.freecomicbookday.com/StoreLocator2017-04-26T16:45:06.000Z

As noted on the FCBD site, the holiday is not just a U.S. only event. Stores in Canada and other countries also participate.

“We have about 2000 participating stores in something like 20 countries,” Field said in a 2005 interview. Since then, the numbers have only grown. In 2016, many of the major London comic book stores all took part, including Forbidden Planet and Gosh! Comics.

In 2014, Diamond estimated that FCBD earned over $3.2 million in free publicity after over 1,000 TV news stations and 4,000 websites covered the event. There over 108,000 tweets and #FreeComicBookDay was a Twitter trend nationally that year.


5. FCBD Inspired Record Store Day Co-Founder Eric Levin

Wil Wheaton Wants You to Celebrate Free Comic Book Day 2017 on Saturday, May 6Free Comic Book Day is less than a week away and Wil Wheaton (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Tabletop) encourages fans to participate in the event. Major publishers such as Dark Horse, DC, IDW, Image, and Marvel Comics have titles available. Fans can find a participating local comic shop near them with the official Free…2017-05-03T15:00:40.000Z

Record Store Day was inspired by FCDB. That holiday was born in 2006 and successfully launched in 2007.

“It was a great launching point for Record Store Day,” Levin told Billboard Magazine in 2017. Levin also owns Criminal Records in Atlanta, which sells vinyl and comic books.

“Eric was the one who had more experience because he actually had a comic book store,” Michael Kurtz, another Record Store Day co-founder, told Billboard. “He was the first one who said, ‘We should make this about vinyl.'”

While FCBD gets the month of May, RSD is during April. While record stores don’t give away free records, they do sell exclusive releases you can only buy on Record Store Day.