It really feels like things are finally getting back to normal in the comic book world. We got a new Marvel movie in the “headliner” summer opening weekend spot for the first time in years, and as usual (before the pandemic) it coincided with Free Comic Book Day.
Free Comic Book Day has been around for two decades now and is probably the best day of the year for new readers looking to get into comics to get started.
All the major comic publishers participate, creating a few offerings for comic shops around the world to give away for free. A lot of these shops also have sales and other special events like signings and cosplay that day and it tends to be the busiest day of the year for comic book stores.
Given that FCBD is a great time to introduce newbies to the world of comics, this year I decided to take two of my friends along with me for their first time visiting comic book stores. We visited three in our area, each with something special to add to the annual celebration of comics.
FCBD 2022: Heroic Dreams
The first store we visited was Heroic Dreams, located in Pickering, Ontario. The store is located in the basement of a Montessori school, and the classroom above was actually used as the place where the free comic books were available for pickup.
Downstairs in the main store, there were sales on pretty much everything, including Funko products, which two of us purchased. (I got a miniature Captain Marvel while my friend bought a Funko POP and some manga.)
Heroic Dreams was the only store we visited that explicitly encouraged cosplay (though the others didn’t discourage it). Those attending the event in costume were allowed to grab a couple of extra comic books, though we, unfortunately, didn’t see anyone who took advantage of that offer.
For more on Heroic Dreams, visit their Facebook page.
FCBD 2022: Comic Book Addiction
The next store we went to was Comic Book Addiction in Whitby, Ontario. This store had a bunch of sales including in their recently-reopened warehouse. Pretty much everything was discounted, even RPG dice! My friends bought some of those, I bought the starter guide for Marvel’s new Multiverse Role-Playing Game, and we also picked up a few comics.
This store was a lot busier than the previous one had been, perhaps because it had a comic writer as well as an artist signing in the gaming area of the shop. They also had the smart idea of bringing some of their comics outside, so passers-by could see that something was going on at the store and possibly be enticed to check it out.
For more information about Comic Book Addiction, visit their website.
FCBD 2022: GNU Books
Finally, we went to our last comic book shop of the day, Oshawa, Ontario’s GNU Books. This is a family-owned business selling both comics and used books. In addition to the free comics, there were also refreshments and balloons being given away, a podcast interview being conducted, and a raffle draw.
Unfortunately, we missed most of these things as they had already happened before we arrived, but we did find this to be the most social store we visited. The staff were very friendly and talkative, as were the customers, and we managed to make some new friends!
We spent more time in GNU Books than in the other stores just because we were having fun talking with everyone as well as watching WandaVision, which was playing on the shop’s newly-installed television.
Despite this one mostly being about the social aspect for our group, I did make sure to buy something; a DC anthology comic centered on romance.
You can find out more about GNU books on their website.
Free Comic Book Day Pickups and Final Thoughts
This was the first Free Comic Book Day that I’d brought people new to the comic book world to, and it was fun to witness their excitement in all the stores and community had to offer.
FCBD is a great way to get into comics or simply celebrate them as a fan. For more information on Free Comic Book Day, including a store locator, visit freecomicbookday.com.
Just remember for next year, if you’re going to go, make sure to purchase something from every shop you attend to support local businesses and as a thank you for running the event!
Here are some of the items I purchased at these shops.
Did you pick up some comics on Free Comic Book Day 2022? Let us know in the comments or on social media!