There's an old saying "You can;t get any cheaper than free," and that certainly explains the appeal of Free Comic Book Day.  Begin in 2002, this event (holiday?) happens on the first Saturday of May since 2002, and it certainly draws a crowd.

The premise of Free Comic Book Day is simple: Several publishers print up comics to be given away during the day (with the words "Free Comic Book Day" appearing on the cover), and participating comic book stores have these books available to whoever wants them.  Stores can limit people to one copy of each title, and at least one store bags the free books and then staples the bag shut, so the customer can browse or shop through the rest of the store.
Free Comic Book Day is designed to get more people interested in comics -- or at least into the store -- and it succeeds at both of these goals.  There are a wide variety of free comics available from a wide variety of publishers.  You'll find the big names from Marvel and DC, but you'll also find independent comics like Mouse Guard, Atomic Robo, and Grimm Fairy Tales.  The Guardians of the Galaxy can be found on the table next to Archie, the Simpsons, Judge Dredd, the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, Street Righter, The Tick, and many others.  Some stores have their own promotions as well: Apocalypse Comics, shown below, had a Spider-Man bouncy castle and "superheroes" kids could pose with; I left before the wrestlers arrived.  (Honest.)

So for anyone who loves comics -- or just wants to see what's new or appealing in comics -- Free Comic Book Day is a great opportunity to snag some free comics (legally) and read away!

Jim Lynch

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