, are making headlines and comics are everywhere. What better time to head down to your local comic store and see that there's more to funny books than Batman vs. Superman -- and this Saturday 2 May there's a whole bunch of free comics in it to sweeten the deal.
"Free Comic Book Day means fun," says Kara Emerton, of Sydney's Kings Comics. "It means chaos, comics, cosplay and coffee... lots of it."
The annual event began in 2002 when retailer Joe Field suggested a special day tied into a big comic book movie's opening weekend. The free books welcome new readers, encourage lapsed readers and thank continuing readers. Now, on the first Saturday each May, thousands of comic shops around the world take part in Free Comic Book Day, inviting fans to attend special events, dress up in cosplay costumes and, well, spend some money while you're there.
This year's Marvel books welcome Spider-Man and Ms Marvel to a new Avengers team and tee up some big changes in a prelude to the "Secret Wars" storyline. DC pits the Justice League against Darkseid or, more light-heartedly, introduce Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman to Scooby-Doo.
Younger readers can enjoy "Transformers", "Pokémon", "Bob's Burgers", "The Simpsons", "Mouse Guard", "Lumberjanes" and "Peanuts". No fewer than three Doctors are in action in the "Doctor Who" book, a range of rappers drop rhymes in "Hip Hop Family Tree" and you get your first look at the "Fight Club" sequel from original author Chuck Palahniuk.
"Free Comic Book Day is one the highlights of our calendar," says Andrew Salmond, manager of Gosh Comics in Soho, London. "We always put a particular focus on younger readers, with our ever-popular draw-with-the-artists activity table for 8-12 year olds. It's a chance to bring attention to the terrific lineup of all-ages material there is on offer these days -- not to mention a chance to show parents they can probably find something to suit their tastes as well."
Chris Thompson of London's Orbital Comics highlights the variety of comics available -- and not just on Saturday. "People have certain assumptions about what comics are, usually based on their experiences with superheroes and films, but there really are comics for everybody. On Free Comic Book Day we'll have over 50 different titles ranging from the obvious Marvel & DC releases to more indie and fringe comics, including the long-awaited sequel to 'Fight Club' by Chuck Palahniuk!
"If you've never been before then we encourage you to pop along and check out the spectacle of FCBD. If it's your first time then you'll want to arrive early, bring an open mind, and prepare to line up for a little while. We guarantee a great experience and hope it'll lead you further down the many avenues comics have to offer."
For more information and to find your nearest comic store check out freecomicbookday.com.