You love comics–especially when they’re free! But depending on where you’re located, snagging the special titles you seek this Free Comic Book Day (May 5) could be more challenging than it should be. But don’t worry–AiPT! has your back with this handy guide to surviving FCBD 2018 at your local comic shop!
1. Research this year’s free comics ahead of time
Every year, publishers large and small release a selection of free comics, with offerings from the big two often among the most desirable. This year, for instance, Marvel has a single issue that will tease both Jason Aaron and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ upcoming Avengers and Captain America series. Comic shops only receive so many copies of each free title, so it’s highly likely stores will have rules around how many books you can take home. In the event that you can only grab a few comics, know your top picks before you set foot in the shop before more organized customers grab them all. Otherwise, you could show up looking for Transformers Unicron #0 and end up leaving with Disney Princess Ariel Spotlight (which I’m sure is lovely).
FCBD’s website has a full list of 2018 Gold and Silver comics here.
2. Reserve your desired comics–if you can
Do you have a pull list at your friendly neighborhood comic shop? After you know exactly which titles you want on FCBD, ask your store if they’ll set aside copies for you. A lot of shops have no problem doing this for loyal customers, so definitely take advantage!
Don’t know where to find your nearest participating shop? Click here for assistance.
3. Arrive as early as possible
Now, if you don’t have a pull list (or you do but your shop won’t allow you to reserve free comics), you need to arrive at FCBD as early as possible–like, before the store even opens its doors. You’re thinking, “Customers out the door? What is this, the ’90s?” Nope–it’s 2018 and comics are big business… when they’re free. There’s always a lot of publicity around FCBDs, which typically follow the release of a major comic book blockbuster (did you hear there’s a new Avengers flick?), so you’ll be competing for free comics alongside a diverse assortment of patrons. So get there early so you’re at the head of the line instead of the back. A lot of these comics sell out fast!
4. Be patient
And even if you’re close to the front of the line, you’re going to want to stay patient. This won’t be your usual trip to the store alongside fellow Wednesday Warriors. Be prepared to scavenge for titles with parents and their small children, as well as your average lover of anything free. Make sure your phone battery is charged, because you may have to text-vent to your friend while the father in front of you shows every single free comic to his son who couldn’t care less (obviously, I speak from personal experience). They should have done their research!
5. See what else is going on at your shop on FCBD
Every store celebrates FCBD differently. An artist could have a table where he or she does sketches throughout the day, or maybe customers can have their pictures taken with local cosplayers. Also, don’t forget the sales! So if you have multiple stores in your vicinity, find out which one will offer the best FCBD experience.
6. Get your free comics and go home
FCBD is a wonderful event for comic book fans and non-fans alike. With that said, it revolves around free products… so it can all get a bit insane. After arriving at your shop extra early, and waiting behind one too many eager families, and again waiting in line to have the clerk scan your free books before you can leave, you’ll be ready to run far away from the hysteria so you can read your comics in peace. Do it! And you’ll make the crowded comic shop less of a fire hazard–it’s a win-win!
Happy Free Comic Book Day! Hope you survive the experience…