Held annually on the first Saturday in May, Free Comic Book Day celebrates the medium that gave us Superman, Spider-Man, Batman and many of literature's other famous superheroes by offering new and old readers alike the chance to get their hands on some great comics for the low, low price of, well... free.
In the 12 years since the comics-friendly holiday launched, publishers have embraced Free Comic Book Day with a little more gusto each time it rolls around. As a result of their support, anyone who drops by their local comic shop tomorrow will have a long list of comics to check out – and go home with – this year.
And there's something for everyone in this year's batch of free comics – especially for movie fans.
Here are a few comics you'll want to keep an eye out for this year when you make your pilgrimage to the comic shop for Free Comic Book Day:
Guardians of the Galaxy
With the Marvel movie about this team of reluctant heroes premiering later this year, there's never been a better time to get acquainted (or reacquainted) with the Guardians of the Galaxy. This free issue offers you exactly that chance at no cost – other than the time it takes to get to your local comic shop, that is – and also serves as a nice introduction to the team's adventures in the modern comics continuity. The fact that it's written by one of the industry's greatest scribes, Brian Bendis, is only icing on the cosmic cake.
All You Need Is Kill/Terra Formars
The upcoming sci-fi action movie Edge of Tomorrow starring Tom Cruise is based on Hiroshi Sakurazaka's popular novel, and that same novel was adapted into comic form for Free Comic Book Day. This is the official graphic novel based on Sakurazaka's story and chronicles the adventure of a military recruit whose death in battle against the alien Mimics creates a time loop that forces him to relive the same fight over and over again. Want to know why the story received the big-budget Hollywood treatment? Here's an easy way to find out.
Archaia Hardcover Anthology
One of last year's most popular Free Comic Book Day offerings, this hardcover collection of stories is back again this year, and you'll want to get your hands on it. Trust me. Along with several new, original stories from some of the publisher's fan-favorite lines like Mouse Guard, the book will also include a new, original story based on the universe of Jim Henson's Labyrinth, the classic 1986 fantasy film. The anthology will also feature an original story from the universe of the Farscape television series – so if you're a fan, that's must-read material. Keep in mind, though, that this book will almost certainly disappear quickly. If you're interested in picking up a copy on Saturday, get to the shop early.
Did I mention that Guardians of the Galaxy is hitting theaters later this year and that's kind of a big deal? Well, here's another reminder in the form of a free comic starring the cosmic team's furriest member: Rocket Raccoon. Marvel seems to know that ol' Rocket could be the breakout star of its upcoming film, so if you want to get on the bandwagon now, grab a copy of his debut solo issue on May 3. You won't be disappointed.
Transformers vs. G.I. Joe
While this comic doesn't have any real connection to the big-screen universes of the Transformers and G.I. Joe franchises (beyond the characters themselves, of course), it's on this list because, well... who wouldn't want to read a comic about Transformers fighting the G.I. Joe team? It's free, after all.
Sherwood, Texas/Boondock Saints
In addition to a clever, modern-day reimagining of the Robin Hood mythology, this two-part collection also features a story set in the world of The Boondock Saints, the 1999 cult classic that cast Sean Patrick Flannery and Norman Reedus as a pair of Boston-based vigilantes on a mission from God. The story is cowritten by the film's writer-director Troy Duffy, and publisher 12 Gauge Comics is calling it a “deleted scene” from the film – so you'll want to get your hands on this comic if you're a fan of the Boondock Saints movies.
While I can't vouch for the quality of this comic, the premise alone makes it worth looking for at your local shop. Basically, the story is a steampunk version of Star Wars, with an alliance of rebels battling a sinister Victorian empire and its army of steam-driven war machines. While fleeing the Empire, the Duchess Imoen crosses paths with a legendary group of powerful warriors, and the rest is, well... you get the idea. And hey, it's free!
While these are just a few of the comics included in this year's Free Comic Book Day releases, it's worth noting that every shop's supply of free comics will differ and supplies are likely to be limited when it comes to certain issues (like the Archaia Hardcover Anthology, for example). If you have your heart set on a particular issue, you'll want to arrive early – and a friendly call to confirm the comic was ordered by your shop couldn't hurt, either.
If you want more information about Free Comic Book Day, head over to freecomicbookday.com for all the details, as well as the full list of free comics released as part of the annual celebration of all things comics.
Oh, and if you enjoy your experience during Free Comic Book Day, don't be a stranger at your local shop. You don't need to wait another year before you pick up some more comics – but you will have to pay for them.
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