Earlier this week we told you about Free Comic Book Day, the yearly event where most comic book stores across the country give away tons of awesome free books for your enjoyment. BUT, that's not ALL Free Comic Book Day brings. Lots of stores take advantage of the increased foot traffic and general spirit of happiness to go all-out, which means in-store creator appearances, crazy sales, and more. Basically, Free Comic Book Day is the best time of the year to visit a comic shop.
So come this Saturday, May 5, where should you celebrate? If you're a regular comic reader, chances are you have your favorite local shop or shops picked out already. However, if you're not a Wednesday Warrior (as us addicts are called), you may not be too familiar with your options. You can always find a list of participating stores by plugging your zip code into ComicShopLocator.com. But, if you happen to find yourself near one of the United States' largest major metropolitan areas, we've got you covered. Here are some of the coolest events happening around YOUR city for Free Comic Book Day.
1. New York City
Midtown Comics (three locations: 200 W. 40th Street, 459 Lexington Avenue, 64 Fulton Street): Manhattan's flagship comic store has exclusive versions of several FCBD offerings from Marvel and DC, as well as BONUS free comics to get readers caught up on Marvel's Ultimate Spider-Man title, including Ultimate Spider-Man #160 (the death of Peter Parker) and Ultimate Comics Fallout #1-4 (the introduction of Miles Morales).
2. Los Angeles
Collector's Paradise (7131 Winnetka Avenue, Canoga Park): LA is where all the stars live, right? Well, it's where all the comic stars seem to be, too. From noon to 3 at Collector's Paradise, you can meet comic celebs like Ed Brubaker (Captain America), Joshua Fialkov (I, Vampire), Kyle Higgins (Nightwing) and tons more!
Challengers Comics (1845 N Western Avenue): In addition to giving away thousands of free comics, Chicago's best shop will feature in-store appearances from writer Tim Seeley (Witchblade) and artists Mike Norton and Chris Mitten (who worked on two of the FCBD offerings. Get signatures when you get the books!).
Bedrock City Comics (6517 Westheimer): Houston's largest store will host Dogs of Mars artist Paul Maybury, who'll be doing free sketches for kids (and probably paid sketches for grownups).
Brave New Worlds (45 N. Second Street): Brave New World's Philly store will have creators Tony Trov and Johnny Zito sitting in, as well as some excellent sales to take advantage of. For instance: spend $25, get a free graphic novel!
All About Books and Comics (5060 N. Central): Truly embodying the party nature of FCBD, Phoenix's famed store will offer free comics (duh), free refreshments, free balloons and superhero face-painting for kids, and an autograph sessions with DC Comics creators Adam Beechen and Dustin Nguyen (Batman Beyond Unlimited). Plus, charitable donations of $5 or more get you 15% off your total purchase.
7. San Diego
Southern California Comics (8280 Clairemont Mesa Blvd): Free comics: check. Signings by DC creators Mark Irwin and Richard Friend: check. But SoCal Comics differs from all the other stores on this list in that they're taking advantage of FCBD to become a museum... kind of. A private local collector has offered to display his original printings of 1939-40's Action Comics #1-10… the very first all-original American comic, featuring Superman's first appearance. According to SoCal Comics' website, this collection is worth over $500,000. Not a lot of people can say they've ever seen a real Action Comics #1. Maybe you should be one of them who has.
Awesome Comics (8420 Abrams Road): The pull of Awesome Comics on Free Comic Book Day is simple. Not only do they have books to give away, but EVERYTHING in the store is 30-80% off. With prices like that, even the non-free books are basically free.
9. San Francisco/San Jose (Bay Area)
Mission: Comics and Art (3520 20th Street): Leave it to San Fran to give us the artiest comic store on the list (though Challengers could give them a run for their money). Mission's got 20% off everything in the store, as well as a 50-cent comic sale. Plus, there's a real-live art gallery in-store. Cool.
Universe of Superheroes (2724 Park Street): Come Saturday, Universe of Superheroes has it goin' on. They're offering artist appearances plus, according to their flyer, "costumed heroes, Stormtroopers, Ghostbusters, zombies, food, and games." Don't mix the zombies and the food. They're also giving away advanced screening passes to the upcoming Dark Shadows movie!
Are you hitting up any of these stores this weekend?