It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No wait, it’s the 15th Annual Free Comic Book Day! On May 7th, comic book stores nationwide (and shops like 2nd and Charles) offer free comics from both major publishers (Marvel and DC) as well as a variety of independent publishing houses.
In this first installment of Lists with Lauren, I name my Top 5 must read comics offered this year.
1- Bob’s Burgers
A spin-off of Fox’s animated series, Bob’s Burgers further follows the misadventures of America’s new favorite family. Each comic, split into three to five unrelated sections, features a story from each Belcher (Bob, Linda, Tina, Gene and Louise). While the stories are disjointed from one another, they maintain the heart and silliness that makes the show special (i.e. “Tina’s Erotic Friend Fiction”). Based upon the preview from the FCBD website, this offering looks to be a reprint of Issue #1. For those on the fence about this series, consider picking this up.
Best For: Fans of the show
Age Range: Teen and Up
— Captain Blue Hen Com (@CaptainBlueHen) April 18, 2016
2- DC Super Hero Girls
While I don’t understand the title (when did Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy become heroes?), this series offers a look into fan-favorite female characters from DC Comics. Featuring two stories from the upcoming graphic novel, this series aims to “builds character and confidence and empowers girls to establish their true potential.” In an industry slow to become woman-friendly, it’s nice to see DC promoting a positive attitude towards female empowerment.
Best for: Pre-teen girls, fans of the characters
Age Range: 10+
3- Con-Man’s Spectrum
Another one for fans of the show, Spectrum (Con-Man’s parody of Firefly) is a four issue run from Automatic Pictures Publishing. Written by Alan Tudyk and PJ Haarsma, the series follows the adventures in space of Captain James Raaker (Spectrum’s Malcolm Reynolds) and his crew in their attempts to keep Earth safe.
According to the PreviewsWorld website, “the Free Comic Book Day offering is not a sampler or a preview, but the actual first issue of the series.” For those interested in this series, make sure that you pick up this issue!
Best For: Fans of Con-Man or Firefly, Sci-Fi/Fantasy Fans
Age Range: All Ages
4- Howard Lovecraft
A cutesie spin on H.P. Lovecraft, Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom incorporates many elements which helped made Lovecraft’s works popular. An extension of the series which started in 2010, the FCBD adds another chapter to the adventures of Cthulu and Howard. In a description for the graphic novel, the series is described as “tak(ing) elements of Lovecraft’s actual childhood, including his father’s nervous breakdown, and uses them to introduce readers to tropes in Lovecraft’s work.” While fans of Lovecraft might enjoy this work, be warned that this series is aimed towards the younger crowd.
Best For: Younger audiences, Fans of H.P. Lovecraft
Age Range: 10+
— Free Comic Book Day (@Freecomicbook) March 29, 2016
5- The Stuff of Legend
Th3rd World Studios brings back their New York Times winning series for another installment. For those not familiar with the series, it follows the tale of a boy kidnapped by the boogeyman and the boy’s toys on a quest to rescue their owner. The FCBD offering presents a preview of the first installment in the fifth volume of the series, “A Call to Arms,” as well as the first issue which started it all.
Although this comic appears Toy Story-esque on the surface, it is not recommended for readers age 13 and under. Consider reading this one beforehand if you have a child interested in reading it, despite its all ages rating according to PreviewsWorld.
Best For: Fans of the series, Fans of Toy Story
Age Range: 13+
For shops participating in your area and a list of all the comics offered, visit freecomicbookday.com. Some stores also offer free giveaways and discounts, so check your local store’s Facebook page for more information. Or check FCBD’s store locator tool for all participating stores around your zip code.