One of my favorite days of the year is coming up this Saturday: Free Comic Book Day! Way better than Christmas, definitely better than another candle on a birthday cake, but maybe not as good as Halloween. Nonetheless, any day devoted to comic books is a great day in my not-so-humble opinion!
I've been reading comics since I was a little kid and was allowed to pick up a couple from the spinner rack each week after trips to the grocery store (yes, clearly showing my age here). I'd read those floppy pamphlets on multicolored newsprint over and over again, cover to cover, and even dogear my favorite parts to pour over every panel again later ("oh no, don't you know what those things would be worth today?!" I'm sure someone reading this is screaming right now!). Without a doubt, the medium of comics was one of the first things that truly instilled in me a love of reading.
I've been attending Free Comic Book Day since it's inception in 2002 and now take my son on this yearly adventure. Now that he is reading, his immeasurable imagination and voracious appetite for all-things-containing-words are a joy to behold. Naturally, the kid loves comics. It's fun to try and answer his questions about who has what power and why, or why this person is considered a villain and the other a hero, and the quintessential question of who can beat up who.
This year's lineup of free comic books is full of fan favorites like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Spongebob Squarepants, Dragon Ball, many different offerings from Marvel and DC, even Archie and the rest of the Riverdale gang. My son seems most excited about The Tick comic after binge-watching the old '90s cartoon series recently. I'll be on the look out for my annual Simpsons comics fix, as well as any offerings from Fantagraphics, IDW, Dark Horse, Image, and other surprises and lesser-known finds from more independent publishers.
Philly has some great comic book shops around the city including Amalgam Comics and Coffeehouse, Brave New Worlds, South Street mainstay Atomic City Comics, and one of the longest-running shops around (since 1976!) Fat Jack's Comic Crypt. All of these stores will be participating in Free Comic Book Day and usually also have special guests, local artists, cosplay, and deals on books and collectibles for all ages. Not only do you get to pick up some cool new comics but you are also supporting local businesses!
And the fun doesn't have to stop once you've read through all those great comic books you just picked up this weekend because every day is free comic book day at Free Library! Specifically, three of our library locations will have Free Comic Book Day festivities this Saturday, including Philbrick Hall at Parkway Central Library, Falls of Schuylkill Library, and Fumo Family Library. But you can also browse through our catalog 24/7 to find more great reads from superheroes and comic strips to graphic novel memoirs and more diverse character voices as well. Check out our Explore topic dedicated to Comics and Graphic Novels for great booklists and web resources full of character(s), both human and superhuman. And don't forget the great collections of current and classic comic series on Hoopla, where you can stream to your browser or download comics for offline viewing using their Amazon, Android, or iOS mobile apps. All you need to access all this cool comic content—for free—is your library card!
Lastly, don't forget to be on the lookout for an announcement this summer about the next installment of our now-annual Comic Con!