Here’s all the information on this year’s 14th annual Free Comic Book Day. Take a deep breath and here we go!
Free Comic Book Day is the first Saturday in May. We break the event day up into two separate yet equally thrilling events.
Because we are allowed to give the books away starting at midnight, we have an early release event beginning at 10pm on May 1st and lasting until 2am. Books are given out at midnight, but there’s lots to do before then.
The day event begins at 10am on Saturday May 2nd, and last until 7pm.
Basic Event Info
We have over 25,000 comic books to give away, 10 per person. These books were created especially for the day, and you can check out what’s available at www.freecomicbookday.com . The lines for each event start forming earlier every year, so the best advice we can give is:
COME EARLY FOR THE BEST SELECTION.
Books are split 50/50 between both events, and all 50 titles will be available, with Gold titles being more abundant than Silver Titles. First in line at both events will be the proud recipient of all 50 books as a testament to your fortitude. The first 200 people in line at the early release event will get one of two graphic novels, either the Astonishing X-Men Gifted Hardcover written by Avengers director Joss Whedon, or the Avengers Heroic Age graphic novel, an expansive fantastic collection of Marvel first issues. Both books are a $24.99 value.
The first 200 people in line for the day event will get to choose between one of two free all ages magazines, either Avengers Earth’s Mightiest Heroes or Marvel Superhero Squad. Both are great for kids and are a $9.99 value.
We have two exclusive items to purchase at the event the year. The first is our custom FCBD 2015 lithograph, made to commemorate not only the event, but the release of Avengers 2 as well. Designed by local graphic designer Jameson Campbell, this image is a tribute to the classic Avengers issue #16 but with a Cleveland spin on it. They are 11×17 on card stock paper and sell for only $4 each.
We will also have an exclusive FCBD 2015 patch, designed especially for us by National Star Wars Trivia Champion Kevin Liell, featuring Baby Groot. Kevin was even featured on the tv show Comic Book Men an expert on all thing Star Wars. The patch is very limited and sells for only $5.
Both items are not only cool to have, but purchasing them helps to show your support of Free Comic Book Day within our shop. Also, to help you save you a few bucks, back issues will be 50% off all weekend. (So be sure to bring your want lists!) We’ll also be having a raffle for a $100 gift certificate, so make sure you fill out a slip before you leave the event..
All weekend long we will also be exhibiting a full gallery art show curated by Jeff Hulligan, with 26 local artists doing their renditions of DC characters. Many artists will be doing multiple pieces, and if you can’t afford to take home the artwork, limited prints of the art will be available for only $5 each, many of which will be signed and numbered by the artist.
Sean Burns – Erin Cauruso – Randy Crider – Amalia Degirolamo – Eric Dull – Ryan Finley – James Giar – James Gulliams – Ben Hale – Jeff Hulligan – Ryan Kacsandy – Chad Kimes – Clare Kolat – Angela Oster – Mark Overlow – Deanna Piotrowski – Henry Pope III – Abdul H. Rashid – Ashley Ribblett – Jeff Ritchie – Aaron Sechrist – Tim Switalski – Shawny Walthaw – Jaine Walland – Robert Walland – Craig Worrell
Costumes are encouraged at both events, and we will be having a professional photographer taking pictures in front of our eight foot logo backdrop. Heather Campbell; will be taking pictures from 10pm to 1am at the early release event, and Laura Wimbels will to there from 10am to 2pm at the day event. This service is free and is highly recommended.
Pictures will be available online post event on our website and Facebook pages. The staff of CNJComics will pick their favorite pictures and these people will win prizes sponsored by LEGO. At the early release event, expect to see appearances by The Rebel Legion, The 501st, The Mandalorian Merc, and the Cleveland Ghostbusters. We’ll have mobile photographers too, so be sure to ham it up when you encounter them. Try to hashtag any pictures you take at the event #cnjcomics for maximum reach.
Here are some details specific to each event:
A highlight of the event each year, 24 local artists will be doing FREE sketches on a first come first serve basis. The line up includes:
David Balan – Dee Piotrowski – Rick Lozano – Tim Switalski – Clare Kolat – Shawny W – Ron Hill – Ben Hale – Erin Schechtman – Rev. Jim Giar – Craig Worrell – Juston Leone – Ryan Finley – Randy Crider – Tom Szorady – Janie Walland – Robert Walland – Mark Overlow – Greg Golem -Ashley Ribblett – Len Peralta – Amalia DeGirolamo – Chod – Steve King
Again, sketches are FREE. Artists are drawing on backer boards, but will do sketches in sketch books or on blank covers if you have one. (Sketch covers are available for sale at the shop.) Best to bring a picture reference if you’re looking for an abstract character. Many artists will have items for sale at their table, so if you’re feeling grateful for the sketch, be sure to show your thank by buying something. Artists can also be contacted post event to do more extensive commissions. (Artists are also empowered by the shop to step away from any interaction they feel is rude or demanding, so remember to be cool.)
At 10:30pm we’ll be opening up our pop up bar in the foyer attached to the comic shop. This year the staff of Carol and John’s have created two FREE exclusive micro brews for the occasion. John Shearer, Ben and Ryan have created the PRIME AMBER ALE, inspired by the final incarnation of the Avengers villain Ultron. This beer is brewed with Willamette Hops and Chocolate Malt, and is comparable to beers like Bells Two Hearted and New Belgium’s Fat Tire.
Other beers and non-alcoholic beverages will be available, as well as desserts from Peace Love and Little Donuts; including their new beer infused donuts!
Alcoholic beverages may not leave the shop and our bartender works for tips, so be sure to do the right thing. Be sure to have your ID out and ready as well.
The early release event shuts down promptly at 2am, as we need to clean up and get ready for the day event. Please respect this cut off time. (ie, don’t be THAT guy)
DAY EVENT: (10am to 7pm)
A new set of artist will be setting up to do free sketches as well as some who are pulling double duty. The day line up of artists at this point include:
OK PANTS – Sequoia Bostick – Henry Pope – Angela Oster – Phil Freid – Lindi Rae – Lauren Chaikin – Mark Laubenthal – Ryan Kacsandy Dee Piotrowski – Robert Walland – Clare Kolat – Ryan Finley – Amalia DeGirolamo – Abdul H. Rashid – Dave Wendt – J Christopher Schmidt – Brian Gleine
Starting around 11am, the amazing Janie Walland will be doing free superhero face painting for an couple hours near the free comic area. If your kids forget to wear a costume, they still have this opportunity to hero up!
A highlight of this year is the addition of The Rocket Car, which will be giving free rides around the parking lot between 10am and 2pm.
Loading and unloading will be occurring right in front of the shop. Don’t miss your chance to ride in this mobile piece of Cleveland history, straight out of the Euclid Beach Amusement Park when it closed in 1969.
From noon until 7pm, local art collective The Rust Belt Monsters will be painting a twelve foot mural live and inspired by the Superfriends Waterski show that was at Sea World in Geuaga Lake from 1976-1979.
Identified by their trademark work shirts and painting for hours at a time, they are quick to remind viewers of the hard work ethic that makes the rust belt special. Coming from diverse styles and backgrounds, each painting is comprised of six individual voices that harmonize into a distinct collaborative style. The resulting work of art is a lush animated narrative that captures the energy of the event where it was created and celebrates the people who attend.
My first memory as a kid was my mom taking me to the Superfriends Waterski Show in 1976 when I was three years old. This is also where she bought me my first comic book (The Superfriends Treasury Edition) and where the first brick of the comic book shop was metaphorically set in place. Come see the Monsters but their spin on this great moment in local history. While this show was advertised on the back of all DC Comics in the 70’s, you could only see it in two places, Florida and a land locked lake in Northeast Ohio. This mural will be hung proudly in the shop upon completion.
At 7pm on Saturday, we will gracefully close up and call it a night.
Here’s the number one thing to remember about Free Comic Book Day, and it’s sort of a paradox. The free comics are not the most important thing about free comic book day .
It’s all about proudly showing your love of comic books and engaging your local comic book community. Everyone at Free Comic Book Day is there because they love comic books.The key
to a successful day? Participate. Engage others. Be a friend.
Please help us spread the word about the event by sharing this image in your social media linked to our website www.cnjcomics.com
- Do your Research. Look up the books that are available at www.freecomicbookday.com . Read up on visiting creators artists at http://www.cnjcomics.com/site/cnjcomics-artist-bios/
- Avengers 2 comes out that weekend, be sure to include that into your weekend plans.
- Plan to get to the events early for the best selection. (but remember, you don’t have to wait in line to engage the event, just to get the free comics. The only line is to get the free books)
- Get your costume ready and dress for success. If you’re only wearing 15 pieces of flair, you’re doing it wrong. (What do you think of people who do the bear minimum?)
- Bring a friend and plan a group outing.Help us to expand our community by bringing someone new into the event and our culture.
- Spread the word about the event by sharing your FCBD plans on social media. Use #cnjcomics to tag your photos and posts at the event.
- Help turn the event into a success for us by shopping a bit at the shop if your budget allows. Remember, this is your holiday. Buy that thing you’ve been thinking about getting.
- As we like to say about the day, if not now when? This is the day to get that thing you’ve been looking at, and it helps us to ensure this day continues at the level to which it has grown.
We have a stellar staff and some amazing volunteers this year. Be sure to look for that lanyard around someone’s neck if you’re having trouble navigating the event.
Once again: Participate. Engage others. Be a friend.
This is your town and your hobby and you have every reason to be proud of both.
Thank you as always for your continued support of our efforts.