Free Comic Book Day 2016 and What You Should Grab

FCBDlogoThe first Saturday of May is nearly upon us and that means that Free Comic Book Day 2016 is on the horizon. Oh joy. Pardon my enthusiasm, but as a comic shop worker this is easily the most stressful day of the year. Every year that goes by, the crowds get bigger and the line to get in the door when we open gets longer. For anyone planning to come to my place of work this Saturday, I apologize for the moment where I stare are you and try to remember your name because my brain is too fried to function properly. And when you stop at your LCS to pick up your free comics, please do them a favor and buy something. Those comics might be free for you, but they’re not free for the shops.

Now that my PSA is over, let’s get into the books for this year. One of the perks of working at a shop is that I not only get to grab a bunch of the free books, I also get to read them early. Today, I’m going to help you make the choice of what you should grab from your shop. Depending on the size of your shop, they might have a giant line of people wanting free comics, so it’s a good idea to walk in with some ideas of what you want to keep the line moving. I’m not reading and talking about everything, but I think I’ve got a lot of the choices covered. Instead of giving each book a rating, I’ll tell you whether you should GRAB IT or PASS. Since they’ll be the most popular options, I’ll start with the offerings from the big two.

DC’s first offering of a reprint of the New 52 Suicide Squad #1 gets a solid PASS from me. I understand why they did it, but for the most part reprinted material won’t really be worth your time or finite selections if you’ve already read the material. The other offering is a younger reader’s book targeted at girls called DC SuperHero Girls. While this isn’t for me, I’d definitely say GRAB IT if you’ve got a young daughter or little sister.

CivilWar2On the Marvel side of things we’ve got all new material, which is a big plus in their favor. The Civil War II book is… not great. The main Civil War prologue is really bad. I already didn’t have any interest in the event, but this didn’t do anything to win me over. The characters were poorly written and a big villain like Thanos was used in a pretty throwaway capacity. The Avengers story is kind of interesting, but it isn’t enough to save this book. Unless you’re really looking forward to Civil War II or want to see someone crying out of every hole in their face, this is an easy PASS. The other Marvel book is more intriguing to me. The Captain America story by Nick Spencer and Jesus Saiz actually has me interested in reading Cap for the first time since Brubaker left. The Amazing Spider-Man backup that follows doesn’t do much to inspire any hope for the future of Dan Slott’s run though. The Cap story is worth checking out, so I say GRAB IT.

Now onto some books good for younger readers. Boom! Studios 2016 Summer Blast is a good look at Boom’s younger readers line right now and there’s some solid stuff in this one with the standout being the Mouse Guard story. GRAB IT! While it’s not for all ages, I definitely think that younger readers would enjoy The Stuff of Legend. The downside to this comic is that it’s a reprint of a past Free Comic Book Day book so if you’ve already read this, PASS on it, but if this will be new to you GRAB IT for sure. I made my yearly or so check in on the Sonic books with the Sonic Sampler and just like every year, I’m very tempted to get back into these comics that I loved when I was a kid. GRAB IT if you ever liked Sonic. Another good choice for the younger comic readers you know would be Image’s Camp Midnight. This all ages horror comic was a lot of fun and you should GRAB IT. The Pokémon Pocket Comics aren’t that bad, but unless you’re a diehard Pokémon fan, you should probably PASS on this one.

AttackOnTitanFCBDThis year Viz is offering the first chapter of One-Punch Man and if you haven’t read it already, you should absolutely GRAB IT. I’m a huge fan of this fighting manga and the first chapter shows off a lot of what you can expect from the rest of the series. While I wouldn’t really call it manga, Kondansha’s book this year is a preview of the upcoming Attack on Titan Anthology featuring stories set in the Attack on Titan world by some of the American comic industry’s top talent. I’ve never been very interested in AOT, but this idea seems cool. I enjoyed this preview quite a bit so I’d say GRAB IT. Udon publishes some manga so I’ll cover their Street Fighter V comic in this paragraph too. I’d put it firmly in the okay camp. Unless you’re a huge Street Fighter fan, you should probably PASS on this one.

IDW is making their big push this year with the debut of their version of ROM. I’ve never read anything with ROM in it before so this was probably meant for a reader like me and I thought this was pretty good. It looked nice and I like the slight redesign of ROM. This actually made me go from having no interest in ROM to considering picking up the first issue of the ongoing. GRAB IT for yourself and see what you think. From Fantagraphics we’ve got Love and Rockets and I’m torn about this book. I really want to like Love and Rockets, but I just can’t get into it. The two stories in this book are pretty solid, but it hasn’t won me over. I keep thinking that this will be one of the series that I’ll eventually read and get it in a way that I haven’t before, but today wasn’t that day. I’ll give this a reluctant PASS.

I was very excited for the debut of a new Grant Morrison comic with Avatarex and maybe I got myself a little too hyped up. This was alright, but it suffered from nothing really happening. If you’re like me and you love Morrison, you should probably read this, but even then it wasn’t that satisfying. Sorry Morrison, but I gotta give this a PASS. We’re going to end on a high note with Valiant’s 4001 AD Special. This provides a good lead-in to their summer event for people that haven’t been reading Rai and also shows off a couple other series from their publishing lines. GRAB IT and I’m sure you’ll find something new to read from Valiant.

Hopefully this guide to Free Comic Book Day 2016 will help you make some of your choices this Saturday. Have fun and support your local comic shop!


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Who ARE these people!?

Kelly Harrass is a comic shop worker and writer from Milwaukee, WI. You may know him as one of the regular hosts of the PoP!-Cast and the co-host of PCW. Find him on Twitter @comicgeekelly and email him at

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