All other months of the year, Saturday is a mild-mannered weekend placeholder on the calendar, but come Saturday, May 3, it will transform into comic nerd’s most powerful day of the year: Free Comic Book Day.
But it wasn’t always that way. Like all great things, it came from humble beginnings.
In the 1990’s, the comic book industry went through a bust. Things were quiet and miserable for comics, says Joe Fields, Free Comic Book Day’s founder.
Rather than sit idly by, Fields set to work to figure out a way to help revitalize the comic book industry.
Following in the footsteps of the ice cream industry's “free scoop day,” whereby consumers could go and get a free helping of ice cream, Fields published an article advocating for the comic book industry to hold a free giveaway day as well.
The very first Free Comic Book Day was held on May 3, 2002 with only four publishers, and about a 500,000 free comics available to comic stores across North America.
Over the next ten years, Free Comic Book Day has grown in leaps and bounds.
Today, Free Comic Book Day has become the biggest comic book related event in the world. This year, 2,000 North American comic speciality shops and over 40 publishers will participate. Last year alone, a record number of 1.2 million people went to their local comic shops and celebrated Free Comic Book Day.
Fields expects to break that record this year.
For Free Comic Book Day, these 56 comics will be free at participating comic book stores. The titles include Archie, Batman, Hello Kitty, Guardians of the Galaxy, Smurfs, and more.
For those wanting to join in the festivities, here’s the official list of San Antonio comic shops celebrating this year.
Hereos and Fantasies: 3 comics per person. 30 cosplayers, special guests Brian Denham, Freddy Lopez, Juan Carlos Ramos, Antarctic Press, and 99.5 KISS. Bounce house for the kids; raffle prizes. (410/Summit Pkwy), free comics avaliable at (Pat Booker Rd) heroesandfantasies.com
Dragon’s Lair: Free comics. Special guests two-time Hugo Award-winning artist John Picacio, author J.D. Brink, The San Antonio Ghostbusters, Nerdcore Comedy Show featuring Michael Suarez & Alex "Kool Aid" Ansel! Fredericksberg Rd, dlair.net/sanantonio
Alien Worlds: Free comics and posters throughout the weekend. Booths at Palladium and Northwoods Theater to celebrate FCBD and The Amazing Spiderman 2. (San Pedro) and (Westlakes) http://www.alienworldscomics.com/
Collector’s Authority: 2 free comics per person. (Se Military Drive) http://collectorsauthority.com/
Bazinga Comics: Free comics. (E Evans Rd) http://bazingacomics.com/@marshnaylor