It certainly seems awful early to be writing about Free Comic Book Day, which doesn’t occur until May 3rd, the first Saturday of May 2014. However, as this event gets bigger and bigger every year, the planning starts almost as soon as the prior year event ends.
There will be 60 FCBD titles offered in 2014. As these are not free to the comic book stores that distribute them (they pay a small price to help offset printing and shipping costs) you should not expect to find all 60 available at your favorite local comics retailer.
A good plan would be to identify those issues you are most interested in, ask your comic store if they are planning to bring those titles in, and ask “would they please save a copy” for you. There are also online outlets that will sell you these titles (average price 25-30 cents plus shipping) but I strongly urge you to support your local comics store first and foremost. After all, the annual Free Comic Book Day event is meant for you and them. You can view the list of titles at the FCBD website here. . . . .
What looks to be the most popular Gold Books come from the big two publishers. DC offers THE NEW 52 FUTURES END to jump start a new weekly series featuring Batman Beyond hoping to prevent an Apocalypse which would destroy the current DC Universe. Marvel counters with GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY just in time for the movie release and featuring Venom and Captain Marvel as new members. This is a flip book with an additional tale of Spider-Man by Dan Slott.
Moving onto the FCBD Silver Books, there are many more riches to be discovered. These are my personal picks and the books I’ll be asking my favorite comics shop about.
Valiant Entertainment previews their next big event with “Armor Hunters” by writer Robert Venditti and artist Doug Braithwaite and others. The story is a teaser for the main event, featuring character designs and interviews as well as a tight story.
Red Giant Entertainment is a publisher to watch for 2014; and their double-sized FCBD offering is a nice introduction to several of their titles, with “giant-sized” previews of action, fantasy, adventure, and thrills.
One of the better independent series last year was SCAM from Comixtribe. Their FCBD offering is a one-shot featuring Crosswords, a major villain from that title by writer Jason Ciaramella and artist Joe Mulvey.
The impressive 2,000 page history of modern Japan by Shigeru Mizuki to be published by Drawn & Quarterly in four separate volumes is previewed in a special FCBD edition offering an excerpt from the World War II period.
2000 A.D. offers a galaxy of greats with a FCBD anthology featuring Judge Dredd, Slaine, Rogue Trooper, PSI-Judge Anderson, Durham Red and more.
Acclaimed writer Kieron Gillen has done some impressive work for Avatar Press with UBER, the story of super-human German soldiers during World War II. The FCBD offering sums up the series so far, and teases the next dramatic arc.
I may pass on the following books, but I recommend them as essential reading to anyone familiar with their contents:
THE VALIANT UNIVERSE from A to Z is everything first time readers will need to know, offering a great introduction to the origins and secrets of Valiant’s heroes and villains.
Avatar Press features a special FCBD edition of their BLEEDING COOL MAGAZINE with a preview of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 movie and an issue dedicated to introducing fans to comics books. There are features on collecting, preserving and developing comics collections and includes top graphic novel lists and a guide to neighborhood comic shops.
FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2014 looks to have something for everyone. Mark your calendar now and start thinking about your book choices!