On Saturday, May 7, comic book lovers participated in the annual Free Comic Book Day, a day entirely dedicated to receiving free comics. Since 2005, the promotional event has occurred once a year on the first Saturday of May.
Free Comic Book Day got started by the North American comic book industry in an effort to bring in new readers to independent comic book stores. It’s a day where up to 2,300 comic book shops give out free comics.
This year, Marvel Comics reported that retailers ordered nearly a million copies of their two FCBD editions, which are both integral to Marvel’s upcoming storylines, according to The Press Democrat.
Kenny Jacobs, a former Saddleback College student, has been the owner of Nuclear Comics since 1994. Located in Laguna Hills, Nuclear Comics has been a participant of FCBD from the very beginning—15 years since the start of it all.
The special event brings in “lots of traffic” and Saturday’s customers were ready before the store’s opening.
“Everybody was more patient than I could’ve imagined, as the line to get into the store was longer than ever and the line to buy stuff swirled through the shop,” Jacobs said.
The event brings in regulars and new customers like Kierra Willis and Ashley Schoenfeld. Willis, 14 , recently got into reading comics after stumbling upon a “Deadpool” comic. Saturday was her first time participating in FCBD.
“I like how there’s a good balance of comedy, action and good narrations,” said Willis when her favorite part about reading comic books.
Schoenfeld, 22 , is a regular customer and comic book lover. She started getting into them when she was 16 years old. Some of her favorite comics include, “Ms. Marvel,” “Paper Girls” and “Wicked.” For Schoenfeld, comics are more than just fun books to read.
“What intrigues me about comics is the art and visual medium. I like the narratives that are told with a minimal amount of words and how it can go from fun to dark storytelling,” Scheonfeld said. “There’s also a community aspect to it. I’ve met a lot of my friends through comic books.”
Rules vary from shop to shop. Some require a purchase or some will put limits per customer. Nuclear Comics offered over 17,000 free comics and had well over 20,000 comics included in their annual $1 sale. Free Comic Book day is their biggest sale of the year with huge discounts on everything.
Along with the free comics and big annual sale, the store also hosted various professional artists who donated their time to draw up free sketches and had signings from working comic creators throughout the day.
Rocom was one of the artists and comic book creators the store hosted on Saturday. He majored in computer engineering at UCI and recently created the “The Unemployed Trooper” comic which is part of a series that comes out every Tuesday on the Eat Geek Play website.
Rocom comes to Nuclear Comics on Free Comic Book Day every year to draw sketches for the kids. He has participated for over four years now.
Although it is a promotional event, the main purpose for Free Comic Book Day is to bring comic book lovers together and to also introduce new readers to the books.