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My Free Comic Book Day 2017 Results, Best to Least Best

Spectacular Spider-Man!

Spidey and the Vulture, both older than they’ll appear in the next film. Art by Paolo Siqueira, Frank D’Armata, and one of the four credited inkers.

On May 6th my wife and I had the pleasure of once again observing Free Comic Book Day, the least fake holiday of them all. Readers of multiple demographics, thankfully including lots of youngsters, flocked to our local stores and had the opportunity to enjoy samplers from all the major comic companies and dozens of indie publishers. This year’s assortment saw a metric ton of all-ages comics far outnumbering the adults-only options, served up by a plethora of publishers great and small, hopefully many of whom will still be around a year from now.

I never grab copies of everything, and this year I restrained myself a bit more than usual. Sometimes reviewing comics can be fun, but I wasn’t in the mood to read that many kids’ comics in a row. Also left behind were a few books based on cartoons and movies, reminders that some publishers see comics more as a second-tier merchandising stream than as a literary medium unto itself.

The fifteen comics in my FCBD 2017 reading pile came out as follows, ranked from Totally Not For Me to I Would Pay Monies For More, complicated by the fact that several of these contain two or more stories. I considered concocting some sort of system involving grade-weighting and averages that would even up the scores, but ultimately I’ve decided to base everything on subjective non-math and internal whims instead. As most listicles are.

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10 Tips for Having a Super Awesome Free Comic Book Day

Free Comic Book Day 2017!

Harley Quinn, Spider-Gwen, and Ms. Marvel welcome you to a whole wide world of whimsy and wonder!

It’s that time of year again! Today marked the sixteenth annual Free Comic Book Day, the one official holiday in my lifelong hobby when comic book shops across America lure in fans and curious onlookers with a great big batch of free new comics from all the major publishers and a bevy of smaller competitors deserving shelf space and consideration. It’s easy to remember when to pin it on the calendar because it’s always the first Saturday of every May and virtually always coincidental with a major movie release (in 2017’s case, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2). It’s also easy to notice if you live near a comic shop and the parking spaces are much scarcer than normal.

I’m too late for this entry to be immediately useful, but for future generations who might be considering participating in the joy of reading and/or the rush for freebies, we offer the following ideas for maximizing your graphic storytelling holiday to the fullest extent, whether you’re brand new to comics collecting or a savvy peer who likes nodding along with solid reminders.

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My Free Comic Book Day 2016 Results, Best to Least Best

Deadpool!

Our annual Free Comic Book Day tradition saw us once again at Indianapolis’ own Downtown Comics North, where cosplayers are always on hand to greet kids, accompanying adults, and regulars alike. Naturally for pop culture’s Year of Deadpool there was Deadpool, so please enjoy Deadpool because Deadpool.

On May 7th my wife and I had the pleasure of once again observing Free Comic Book Day, the least fake holiday of them all. Readers of multiple demographics, thankfully including lots of youngsters, flocked to our local stores and had the opportunity to enjoy samplers from all the major comic companies and dozens of indie publishers. This year’s assortment saw more all-ages comics than ever, so this wasn’t just an outreach to longtime fortysomething collectors who need no further enticement.

I never grab copies of everything, but this year I got a little more grabby than I thought. This entry was procrastinated days past its relevance expiration date because it took me that much longer to find the free time to read them all, even those I could speed through in three minutes flat. In my mind, regardless of total consumption minutes, each issue ought to be a satisfying experience for any new reader who opens the cover without any foreknowledge. Historically, each publisher’s offerings tend to fall into one of six story levels, ranked here in order from “Best Possible Display of Generosity and Salesmanship” to “Had to Slap SOMETHING Together, So Whatever”:

1. New, complete, done-in-one story
2. Complete story reprinted from existing material
3. A complete chapter of a new story with a proper chapter ending
4. Partial excerpt from an upcoming issue that will also contain all these same pages
5. No story, just random pinups or art samples
6. Disposable ad flyer shaped like a comic

Surprisingly, none of this year’s samples settled for option 5 or 6. Good show, publishers.

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My Free Comic Book Day 2015 Results, Best to Least Best

Secret Wars FCBD 2015!

Valeria Richards addresses her troops in Secret Wars #0. Art by Paul Renaud.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: my wife and I observed Free Comic Book Day 2015 this past Saturday. Readers of multiple demographics, thankfully including lots of youngsters, flocked to our local stores and had the opportunity to enjoy samplers from all the major comic companies and dozens of indie publishers. As an incentive for the younger recruits, the shop we visited split the all-ages material apart from the rest and put up “KIDS ONLY” signs discouraging greedy adults from hoarding everything and leaving nothing behind in their wake.

I never grab copies of everything, and this year I took even fewer items than usual because I don’t really have the time or inclination to be the guy who thinks he’s obligated to read and respond to everything. I came away with a dozen comics of varying interest levels and finished reading the last of them the next morning. In my mind, each issue ought to be a satisfying experience for any new reader who opens the cover without any foreknowledge. Historically, each publisher’s offerings tend to fall into one of six story levels, ranked here in order from “Best Possible Display of Generosity and Salesmanship” to “Had to Slap SOMETHING Together, So Whatever”:

1. New, complete, done-in-one story
2. Complete story reprinted from existing material
3. A complete chapter of a new story with a proper chapter ending
4. Partial excerpt from an upcoming issue that will also contain all these same pages
5. No story, just random pinups or art samples
6. Disposable ad flyer shaped like a comic

The twelve comics in my FCBD 2015 reading pile came out as follows, from least favorite to definite favorite:

Right this way for the countdown!

The Heroes of Our Free Comic Book Day 2015

Bat-Villains!

Even those dastardly Bat-Villains love Free Comic Book Day because it’s the one day of the year they can have nice new things without resorting to theft or deathtraps.

Happy Free Comic Book Day! The fourteenth annual celebration of graphic storytelling narratives and/or floppy funnybooks was a rousing success, far as we could tell from our single stop at Indianapolis’ own Downtown Comics North. In years past I’ve made road trips to visit multiple stores for the occasion, but our schedule was too packed with other obligations and joys. Regardless, ’twas a morning well spent, money well spent for a few items, and an experience fully enjoyed.

Right this way for FCBD photos! Including cosplay!

Free Comic Book Day 2014 Results, Part 2 of 2: the Other Half of the Stack

Batman Beyond IN "Futures End"

Batman Beyond vs. Batwingbot and Squirebot in DC’s apocalyptic Futures End. Art by Patrick Zircher.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

…my wife and I had a ball on Free Comic Book Day 2014 this past Saturday. Readers of multiple demographics, especially a heartening number of youngsters, flocked to our local stores and had the opportunity to enjoy samplers from all the major comic companies and dozens of indie publishers.

How did the finished works do? Did they present an enjoyable, self-contained experience? Were they welcoming to new readers? Did they adhere to the old adage that every comic is someone’s first?

Part One was an overview of my favorites from this year’s haul. Covered here are the rest, from those nearly good enough to those I wish I’d left behind. On with the countdown:

This way to skim The Rest!

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