Saturday, April 20, 2024

Free Comic Book Day: Your Guide to Getting into Comics

The success of many popular comic-based movies has created a renaissance for the genre. There is, simply, no better time to be a comic book nerd. Comics can be a tricky thing to pick up, due to an almost overwhelming amount of titles.

Local shops will provide new readers with a perfect jump
start on Free Comic Book Day, on Saturday, May 6.

Held on the first Saturday of every May, a tradition that began in 2002, coinciding with the very first Spider-Man movie starring Tobey Maguire.

Not only will local shops offer the best sales of the year, they will also offer exclusive and free promotional books that give a small taste of what different publishers have coming up.

In honor of Free Comic Book Day, and to simply get more people into this unique medium, here are eight tips on how to break into comics.

1. Bending Stereotypes

The common stereotype for comic book store owners and avid readers is an exact portrait of The Simpsons character, “Comic Book Guy.” In some cases this is true, but you will find that the atmosphere of each shop is different.


If you feel out of place at one shop don’t get discouraged. Just try a different one— like one of these local shops who have promotions planned for Free Comic Book Day.

  • The Game Room: All back issue comics are 25% off along with clearance comics that will only be $1. Families will also be able receive up to 50 free comics. 3001 W. Sylvania Ave.,
  • JC’s Comics N’ More: Will have multiple sales throughout the store on more than just comics. The sheer amount of books available at this store will give you plenty of options. 6725 Central Ave., 419-531-6097. Find JC’s Comics N’More on Facebook.
  • Monarch Cards and Comics: This local shop presents a photo opportunity with the Toledo Avengers, along with free pizza and cookies. The store will also be holding sales.
    4400 Heatherdowns Blvd., 419-382-1451.
  • Seann’s Anime and Comics: Seann’s Free Comic Day celebration includes sales on everything in the store, doorbusters, goodie bags and raffles. Seann’s promises to have a true comic celebration with professional cosplayers and balloon superheroes created by local magician Eli Portala.
    5805 Monroe St, Sylvania.

2. Always Travel with a Buddy

Be like Doctor Who and always travel with a companion. Remember that the buddy system is essential when trying to figure out which books are right for you. Developing a relationship with the employees and owners of these shops can help guide you around the forgettable titles and point you in the direction of something truly special. Forming a friendship with your friendly neighborhood comic guy can make or break your comic experience.

3. In This Case, You can Judge a Book by its Cover

You probably have heard it a million times. “Don’t Judge a book by it’s cover.” This is a guideline that can apply to books and film, but with comics it can be more irrelevant. A lot of the appeal for each comic is its art style.

The cover is much like the first page or chapter of a book, it draws the audience in and makes them curious what is happening. If a specific book’s artwork entices you, then give it a try. Chances are, you will probably enjoy it.

4. It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s…
not a Superhero.

Superheroes have become synonymous with the comic medium, and for good reason. They are popular with readers, and the fandom created from the films is simply increasing this audience. That being said, if you focus on just the big two comic companies, Marvel and DC, then you will never find some truly awesome titles.

For example, companies like Image, Vertigo, and Dark Horse publish comics that are not superhero related, and are not concerned with building a larger universe. These books read much more linear, which just makes reading it all the easier.

It is easy to see the influence movies have on comics and vice versa, but these independent publishers create stories that could be turned into an interesting film but won’t see the light of day because they are not a franchise. The medium provides an outlet for writers to test the limits of their respective genre, without having to be tampered by big budget productions and audiences.

If you are interested in diving into the world of independent comics Toledo local and owner of, Imani Lateef, provides free digital comics from independent comic publishers. The online shop will provide this offer on Free Comic Book Day.

5. It turns out that everything has
its own comic

A common thought when looking at comics at your local shop is, “Oh, I didn’t know that was a comic book!” A good guideline to live by is if there is something you are a fan of, there is probably a comic book about it. It doesn’t matter if it is a book, movie or TV show.

In fact, reading the continuing adventures of Doc and Marty in the “Back to the Future” comic drew me to the comic shop. Everything from “The X-Files” to “Spongebob Squarepants” has its own comic, and it is always a safe bet that characters you love will speak to you once again in comic form.

6. Buckle Up! Things Might Get Weird…

Often times, you will find yourself reading comic books and literally have to take a step back and say to yourself “Did that really just happen?” It is no secret that comics can take readers to some pretty strange places, but this is a unique quality that seems to be at home in the comic world.

My advice to you, depending on your preference, is to either tread lightly or just go along for the ride. If anything, these outrageous tales can lead to a pretty great party story.

7. Pace Yourself

It is easy to fall into the trap of overspending on comics when you see that each issue is only $3-$5. At first, this might sound inexpensive, but once you get hooked on more than one title the price adds up.

It is key to pick the titles you want to stick with, and break off with the ones that you’re not crazy about. It is nothing personal. Free Comic Day happens to be the perfect time to stock up on your favorite titles, because all of the shops will be having sales and events in the area.

8. We Gotta talk about it!

Just like any other form of entertainment the conversation afterwards is absolutely vital to forming an opinion about the comic book. Someone else’s opinion can shed light on aspects of the book you didn’t even think of. This is another great way to discover other books. Word of mouth promotes not only different books, but even comic stores.

Comics are a form that many appreciate, but still others are apprehensive about. Take these tips and the festivities of Free Comic Book Day to open the door to this unique style of entertainment.

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