Here’s all the information on this year’s 15th annual Free Comic Book Day. Every year we strive to make the event bigger and better, and this year is no exception. With the release of Captain America Civil War that same weekend, the event will have a decidedly Marvel feel to it.
Free Comic Book Day is the first Saturday in May. We break the event up into two separate yet equally exciting events.
Because we are allowed to give the books away starting at midnight, we have an early release event beginning at 10pm on Friday, May 6th and lasting until 2am. Books are given out at midnight, but there’s a lot going on before then.
The day event begins at 10am on Saturday May 7th, and lasts until 7pm.
While the night event has a different feel than the day event, both events are absolutely family friendly.
Basic Event Information:
The space to line up for free comics is our old store front, which is 100 feet from our current shop. (17448 Lorain to be exact.) This is also where the art gallery, artists and photo op area will be.
We have over 25,000 comic books to give away and each person can pick ten from the 50 that are offered. These books were created especially for the day and it’s my belief that this year sports the strongest selection ever. You can check out what’s available at www.freecomicbookday.com. Books like Civil War II #1.
The lines for the event forms earlier every year, so here’s the best advice we can give you:
COME EARLY FOR THE BEST SELECTION.
Books are split evenly between the night and day events, and all 50 titles will be available. We have literally hundreds of each title to give away. (First in line at both events will receive all 50 books as a testament to your fortitude and endurance.)
The first 200 people in line at each event will also get a free Marvel graphic novel, which you’ll be able to pick out from an impressive staff picked selection.
To celebrate Carol’s official retirement we’ve worked with DC Comics to create a custom cover for their DC Superhero Girls Book, celebrating our anniversary and her place as a female pioneer in the industry.
Art by Erin Schechman of mom holding up her grand daughter Zoe, showing the transition from one generation to another. This is one of the books you can pick out for free on the day. (Carol will be wandering around both events, so feel free to seek her out for an autograph, I’m sure she’d be honored.)
To celebrate the release of Captain America Civil War that same weekend, our graphic designer Jameson Campbell has created another lithograph to celebrate the day. 11×17 on card stock paper and they sell for only $4 each.
Buying a lithograph is a great way to support the event, and every one sold helps us to defer the costs of the free comic books. (Beside the fact that they’re super cool.) Pick a side and display them any way that you want.
To help you save a few bucks, we’ll be giving 50% off all back issues all weekend.
There will also be raffle slips to fill out in the comic shop, with great prizes like Marvel Omnibuses and Marvel Year One Hardcover sets. Don’t forget to fill one out in all the commotion.
This year we’re teaming up with the folks from Breakneck Gallery to give you a Marvel themed pop up art show, with over 30 local artist doing renditions of their favorite Marvel characters. All artwork is for sale, and there will also be a limited amount of prints available for $5 each.
EARLY RELEASE EVENT (10pm to 2am)
Costumes are encouraged at both events, and at times it feels like everyone’s dressed up. We’ll have photographers wondering around taking pictures and the good folks at Rubber City Cosplay will be setting up a photo booth so you can have professional pictures taken with your favorite cosplayers.
Expect appearances by the Rebel Legion, the 501st, the Mandalorian Mercs, and a Ghostbuster or two.
If you take any great pictures, please tag them #cnjcomics for maximum reach. We love to see your post event photographs.
24 local artists will be doing FREE sketches on a first come first serve basis The line up includes:
James Giar – Craig Worrell – Tim Switalski – Erin Schechtman – Randy Crider – Ben Hale – Clare Kolat – Angela Oster – Ryan Finley – Ryan Kacsandy – Sequioa Bostic – Amalia DeGirolamo – Robert Walland – Janie Walland – Steve King – Shawny Walthaw – Dee Piotrowaki – Chad Kimes – David Balan – Tom Szorady – Rick Lozano- Ashley Ribblett – Brian Gleine – Abdul Rashid
Many of the artists have bio’s with links to their sites on our Artists Bio Page. Check them out here so you can scout out the artist you’re looking for at the event.
Again, sketches are FREE. Artists will be drawing on backer boards, but they will also draw in sketch books and blank covers. (which are conveniently sold at the comic shop) Best to bring a photo reference if you’re looking for an abstract character. Many artists will have artwork for sale at their table, as well as artwork and prints in the art show. Do them a solid by buying something to show your appreciation. Artists can be contacted post event for more extensive commissions. (Artists are also empowered by the shop to step away from any interaction they feel is rude or demanding, so be cool.)
We will be opening up our pop up bar in the foyer by the shop. The bar will be a one way street, with people entering from the outside doors (HR Block) and exiting through the comic shop. After the initial rush, we will open up access through the comic shop as usual. Refreshments are FREE, and the staff of CNJComics has created two beers to celebrate the occasion. (Mrs. Dudas even helped out a bit this year.)
Label designs will be coming soon, but at this point we can tell you we’ve created a Wakanda Wheat with Perle and Tettnang Hops, and an American Pale Ale inspired by the cover of Avengers #223, made with Columbus, Centennial and Cascade hops.
Other beers and non alcoholic beverages will be available. Beverages may not leave the shop and our bartender works for tips, so be sure to do the right thing. Have your ID out and ready as well.
The 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)
We shift the free comic book room around a bit to add a kids play area. We also understand how hard it can be to wait in line with kids, so we’ll be walking up and down the line handing out some extra freebies to make the time go faster. I’ve got a soft spot for kids in costumes, so dress those little super heroes and heroines up!
A new set of artists will be willing be setting up to do sketches as well as some who are doing double duty.
Artists from 10am to 2pm:
Clare Kolat – Ryan Finley – Dave Wendt – Sequioia Bostic – Amalia DeGrolano – Robert Walland – Dee Piotrowski – Chad Kimes – Henry Pope III – Phil Fried – Lauren Chaikin – Brian Gleine – Tom Szorady – Abdul Rashid – Damian James – David Balan – Greg Golem
Artists from 2pm to 6pm:
Clare Kolat – Ryan Finley – Dave Wendt – Amalia DeGrolano – Dee Piotrowski – Henry Pope III – Phil Fried – Lauren Chaikin – Brian Gleine – Tom Szorady – Abdul Rashid – Angela Oster – Shawny Walthaw
10am to 1pm
We’re lucky to have superhero face painter extraordinaire Janie Walland on scene and doing free face painting. (there will be a tip jar, so again please do the right thing if you can)
Be sure to get a picture at our photo op area. LEGO is sponsoring a kids costume contest with prizes, and this year we’ll be picking the winners post event from the photos taken throughout the day.
All event photos will be posted on our Facebook Page for everyone to see.
At noon our aforementioned graphic designer Jameson Campbell will be signing 100 copies of this years lithograph for free! This is a tradition that was started last year and was incredibly successful. It gives you a chance to put a face to the guy who works year round to preserve our business identity. He will also sign any copies that you purchase at the event.
Noon to 7:00 PM
The local art collective The Rust Belt Monsters will be painting a twelve foot Marvel Comic Book mural.
“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.”
Each year the theme is dredged up from my childhood, and this time we’re going with the Thing’s floating poker game. Marvel Two In One was my favorite comic as a kid (tied with Avengers actually) and the Thing regularly hosted poker games that had a rotating lineup of guests and never seemed to reach their conclusion without being interrupted by one thing or another. (pun intended) Like going to the negative zone.
Find out more about the history of the game here!
Watching the final brush strokes being placed on the mural in the final hours of the event is well worth coming back for, and is a highlight of my whole weekend. This mural will hang 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 about proudly showing your love of comic books while engaging your local community. Everyone is at Free Comic Book Day because they love comics. The key to a really successful event? Participate by engaging others, and be a friend to all.
We’ve got two images for you to use in your social media this year, depending on which side of the war you’re on.
Here’s some things you can do to prepare for FCBD 2016 at Carol and John’s Comic Book Shop:
- Do your Research. Look up the books that are available at www.freecomicbookday.com. Read up on visiting creators and artists.
- Captain America Civil War comes out that weekend, so be sure to include that into your 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.
- Bring a friend or plan a family outing. A successful event for us is one that exposes new people to our shop and culture
- Spread the word about the event by sharing your FCBD plans on social media. Use #cnjcomics and #fcbd2016 to tag your photos and posts at the event.
- Due to major issues last year, measures will be taken to prevent people from cutting in line. This is out of respect for the people who have been waiting patiently to get the books they wanted. If you see anyone cutting in line please notify a volunteer immediately.
- Check out some videos and info on previous events here: http://www.cnjcomics.com/site/articles-and-videos/
- If your budget allows, consider spending a little cash at the shop. This is your holiday true believer! Get that thing you’ve been thinking about for yourself.
To quote the charming Gail Simone “Just a reminder that the comics that shops give away on Free Comic Book Day are not free to the stores. They have to pay for the bundles of books, and then they also pay shipping. So it can be very substantial to host FCBD in a store with a large attendance. Most stores are happy to do it and do an amazing job making it a fun event. Please thank them by doing some shopping there ON Free Comic Book Day. Maybe buy that trade paperback or statue or action figure you have been thinking about, or have the employees suggest some new books. If you do it on FCBD, the message that this is a good, worthwhile expenditure of time, money and resources will be heard and everyone benefits! Promote your local comics shop, says me!”
We have an awesome lineup of volunteers, so if you get disoriented at the event, please reach out to anyone wearing a lanyard.
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.