With three weeks to go, it’s time to share information on this year’s 18th annual Free Comic Book Day!

Every year we choose a theme to help give the event a little bit of structure, and by popular opinion, this year’s theme is The Uncanny X-Men!

So many people, myself included, were affected by Chris Claremont and John Byrne’s run on Uncanny X-Men, teaching us the strength in being different as we grew up. 

(Let’s not forget Cockrum too, who, looking back at it now, was every bit the master Byrne was, if not more so.) Their combined body of work is the foundation for everything that came after, and that’s what we’re here to celebrate. Everything.

Our FCBD event is not just a celebration of the culture, it’s a celebration of our City. We embrace our local communities, from artists to cosplay to comic book collectors and readers. This event could not exist anywhere else because it is so very Cleveland. We also try to create an event that brings generations of fans together, with something for both new and old alike. We love a good story and we love shared experiences.

This is the year for the for the end of Marvel Phase Three, with the release of Avengers End Game on April 26th, so you’ll be able to see the movie the week before to gear yourself up for the event. 

We have dozens of local artists ready to sell their stuff while doing free sketches, a X-Men themed art show, as well as literally four tons of comics to give away.

Free Comic Book Day is historically the first Saturday in May. We break the event up into two equally engaging events, each with its own character. We host a midnight release event from 10 pm to 2 am on Friday, May 3rd. Books are given out at midnight, but there’s a lot going on before then. The ‘main’ event begins at 10 am on Saturday, May the 4th, and lasts until 7 pm.  While the night event leans more towards adults and the day event towards kids, both events are absolutely family friendly and we pride ourselves on that fact. All are welcome to Free Comic Book Day. 

We host the free comics/artshow/artist area in an empty storefront 120 feet from the shop. We have 30,000 free comics to give away, and people can pick ten from the fifty that are offered. These book run through all differents genres and we’re confident that there’s something in there for everyone. Do you research ahead of time and check out the books here!

Books like this Avengers Special, featuring new material as well s the first appearance of the Savage Avengers!

Books are divided into three color categories, Green (All Ages) Yellow (Teen) and Red (Mature) Parents, look out for the colored tape that will mark these categories and watch those kiddo’s, please! (There’s actually only one Mature Title this year, Deadly Class.)

DC has created a special book for the weekend above and beyond their two FCBD selections. The DC Year of the Villains Special will be an extra 11th book that everyone attending the event will receive at the end of the FCBD line. What’s more, we’ve worked with local artist Erin Schechtman Caruso to create a custom back cover for the book, depicting our shop cat Winston assembling his own Legion of DOOM!

The lines for the event start pretty early, but we’ve gotten pretty good at keeping them moving once the event starts. However, the best piece of advice we can give you is: COME EARLY FOR THE BEST SELECTION!

The first person in line at each event receives a full set of all 50 books, and the first people in line are rewarded for their perseverance in other ways as well, like free graphic novels. We have 400 X-Men graphic novels to give away to the first 200 people in line for each event!

Every year since 2012, our graphic designer Jameson Campbell has created a new lithograph celebrating FCBD and the relationship it shares with Cleveland. This year’s is an homage to the classic cover of Uncanny X-Men #133, the issue that really cemented Wolverine as an icon. This reimaging is set on East 4th street downtown, with Wolverine cutting his way through a fictitious Chinatown. These prints are 11 x 17 and 14 point cardstock paper and cost only $5. They are available now and buying one is a great way to show support for the event. If you’d like to hang one up in a public place to help promote the event let us know and we’ll give you one for free!

We have also made up glossy reprints of previous years posters to help you catch up, and these sell for $40 for an eight print set, including this years. We only have a handful of these sets left.

While attending the event is free, we hope you’ll do a little shopping while your here to help with the sustainability of the event. To help this along, we offer 50% off all back issues all weekend long. It’s safe to say our back issue inventory levels are very very high and ready for you to dig through. 

This is the fourth year that Breakneck Gallery will be running our art show and this year’s theme is right in line with the event, The X-men. response to the theme has been huge with our artist friends, and you should expect an incredible display of art this year. All pieces are for sale and a limited amount of prints of the artwork will be available for $5 each. Many of the artists are scheduled to sketch throughout the weekend, so you can seek them out to get the prints signed. 

art by CHOD https://chodartist.com/home.html

EARLY RELEASE EVENT (10pm to 2am)

Someone at Yelp once defined the night event as “Geeky Tailgating where everyone is on cool and on the same page. We’ll take it. 

Costumes are encouraged at both events, and it feels like everyone is sporting some kind of flair. We’ve got the crew from Rubber City Cosplay coming out again this year and setting up their photo booth. What a great crew they are.

Free Comic Book Day is on May the 4th, so get your photo ops a day early and you’ll be ready for you social media posts on May the 4th (Be with You.) The Star Wars crew will be out in full force as well as members of the Hero Alliance. 

Here is an amazing video from last year showing you what they represent to the community.

Speaking of awesome groups, the crew from NEO-TACC (North East Ohio Toy and Collectible Club) will officially be setting up shop in Working Class Brewery, which is about half way between the Comic Shop and the Free Comic Book Room. They’ll have a photo op area and this is a great time to meet them and have a beer. 

We’ll have other awesome photo opp stations set up around the event. If you’re taking pictures at the event, be sure to use the hashtags #cnjcomics #fcbd #fcbd2018 We love to look through these tags after the event and see what it all looks like through your eyes! Cosplayers are there to take photos with, so feel free to politely ask for a picture! Some great advice to to set up shop in line, get to know your neighbors, and then go explore as much as possible. You never know what you’re going to find out there. Remember the ending of Empire Records? It’s a lot like that.

For the night event, we have 22 local artists setting up and doing free sketches on a first come first serve basis. The line up is:

Amalia Degirolamo – Ashley Ribblett – Brian Gleine – CHOD – Clare Kolat – Dave Wendt – Erin Caruso – Henry Pope III – J. Christopher Schmidt – Jake Kelly – Janie Walland – Jim Giar – Rick Lozano – Rick Sans – Robert Walland – Ryan Finley – Ryan Kcsandy – Sergio Andujar II – Sequoia Bostick – Shawny Walthaw – Steve King – Tim Switalski

Many of the artists have bio’s with links to their websites on our Artists Bio Page. Check them out in advance so you know who to hunt down. Again, sketches are FREE. Artists will be drawing on backer boards, but they will also draw in sketchbooks or on blank comic book covers (which are conveniently sold over at the shop.) Bring a photo reference if you’re looking for them to draw an abstract character. Many artists will have stuff for sale at their table, and one of my favorite parts of the event is shopping around the artist tables. Do them and yourself a solid and buy some stuff. SUPPORT LOCAL ARTISTS. Many can be contacted post-event for more extensive sketches and projects.

 (For the record, artists are empowered to step away from any interaction they feel is rude or demanding, so be cool.)

At 10:00 pm we will be opening up a pop-up bar in the foyer next to the shop. The bar is entered from outside the HR Block entrance and is a one way street into the shop until the initial rush is over. Both alcoholic and non-alcoholic refreshments are free and the team at CNJComics have created two custom beer just for the event, one is a Canadian Ale inspired by Wolverine, and the other is a Pilsner inspired by Cyclops. (Labels are forthcoming, and will be designed by our Christmas Art Show winner, Kelsey Cretcher, who we’re very excited to have on board for this project.) The bartender works for tips, so be sure to do the right thing, Bub. 

We’ve got two podcasts being recorded live at the event this year, so be sure to seek them out and say hi to The Panel Scanners. More about them Here.

The Panel Scanners recorded live last year and you can listen to that on their site. Josh from Comics Generally is a regular FCBD volunteer and will be doing so again on Saturday. 

This year we will also have a live mural being created for the night event as well, by Rich Cihlar and Bob Peck. This graffiti art duo will be working right outside the shop, and have also created a cigarette machine that will dispense one of a kind pieces of art for $10 a pull, all of which will go to the Jack Kirby Museum and Research Center.

At midnight we open up the line for the free comics. As stated before, the first 200 people in line will get a free X-Men graphic novel as well. 

No matter how much fun you’re having we’ve got to shut the whole thing down at 2am to get ready to do it all over again in the morning. Please respect this cut of time. (Don’t be that guy. Or that girl for that matter.)

Day Event

We put out the second half of the FCBD books, so if you missed something the night before there’s a second chance to grab it. You can run the line once during each event. We also open up a kids play area in the foyer next to the shop where the bar was the night before. We love to see kids in costume, and we’ll have a photographer walking around taking pictures in the morning. The first 200 people in line will also get a free X-Men graphic novel. 

A new set of artists will be stepping up to the plate to do sketches, and some will be doing double duty. 

Artists from 10 am to 2 pm

Amalia Degirolamo – Angela Oster – Ashley Ribblett – Brian Gleine – Courtney Miller – J. Christopher Schmidt – Jeff Ritchie – Keith Miller – Lisastarchild Pinkston – Michelle Littlejohn – Miguel Hernandez – Phil Fried – Rick Sans – Riley Young – Robert Walland – Sequoia Bostick Sergio Andujar II – Taylor Reyes

Artist from 2 pm to 6 pm

Amalia Degirolamo – Brian Gleine – Lisastarchild Pinkston – Phil Fried – Rick Sans – Riley Young – Robert Walland – Sequoia Bostick – Sergio Andujar II – Taylor Reyes (we also have a new addition this year of some high school students who will be trying out their live drawing skills and rotating out during the afternoon under the direction of Sequoia and Amalia.)

We will update these lists closer to the event.

From 10 am to 2 pm we will also have Janie Walland doing free superhero face painting, and she’s the best I’ve ever seen at it. She’s also happy for a tip if it’s in your budget.

We will also have the local art group, the Rust Belt Monsters, painting another mural outside the shop all day long. Watching them work is a highlight of the event for me, and this years’ X-Men theme will be a trip to check out.

“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.”

At noon Jameson will be signing 100 free copies of this years lithograph. You’re also more than welcome to buy one and have him sign that as well. 

At 7 pm we’ll be shutting down, just as the Rust Belt crew is putting the final touches on the mural.

We’ve got a handful of other surprises in store that we’ll be letting you know about as the event gets closer, so keep checking back. 

Things like, did you know two people are getting married at the event this year? Chris and Alyssa, we’ll see you at 1:30 pm on May the 4th!

  • Do your research. Look up the books that will be available at freecomicbookday.com. Read up on the visiting creators beforehand here and elsewhere online.
  • Go see Avengers End Game to gear yourself up.
  • Plan to get to the event as early as you can for the best selection and opportunities. Remember, you don’t have to wait in line to enter and engage the event, just to get the free comics. If the line seems too long when you pull up, stop in and see what’s going on anyway till it dies down.
  • Get your costume ready and dress for success. Even a t-shirt and some flair ads to the event.
  • Bring a friend and expose them to your hobby. We put our best foot forward on this day so this is a great chance to show people how cool comic books are. A successful event for us is when new people are exposed to our shop. YOU help keep this event alive through word of mouth. 
  • If you get confused at the event look for one of our awesome volunteers. They all have snazzy lanyards and are happy to give you some direction.
  • Check out some videos from previous years to see what you’re getting into:

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. “If not now when?!”

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!”

Here’s a great image you can share on your social media sites to let everyone know where you will be:

The best part about Free Comic Book Day is not the free comics, not even close. It’s the ability to proudly share your hobby with others while learning a little bit more about your community. As always, I believe the keys to a successful event are: Participate – Engage Others – Be a Friend. No one is on the sidelines. I am so grateful for the rise of the medium and that it gives me so much common ground with my family. I gauge our events by how much fun my family is having, and I’m always so proud of the moments this hobby allows us to have together. I feel like my early years of comics book collecting were actually preparing me to be a father, and that’s pretty incredible.

Last week was owned by DC and Detective Comics #1000, this week is all Marvel with  the War of the Realms!

Here’s the featured new releases coming out this Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019!

War of the Realms

This will be the first major event for Marvel in some time, and it’s the culmination of Jason Aaron’s efforts over in Thor.

The forces of the Ten Realms are headed to Earth for an all our war with the MCU.

Other than Aaron’s involvement we’re really excited about the street levels characters joining in, like Punisher, Daredevil and Squirrel Girl.

This book has a ridiculous amount of covers, so just pop into the shop early and get the one you like the most. 

Here’s a quick recap to get you up to date!

War of the Realms is a six issue mini-series that will last into June. There are checklists for the next three months if you want to print them out and turn them in.

Don’t get caught up in plot threads you don’t care about! Reading the main title alone is fine!

I’m personally excited about the Punisher mini series, the Strikeforce One Shots, and I’m keeping my eye on the War Scrolls and Journey Into Mystery series. Maybe Giant-Man.

Event fatigue is real, so we always prefer you to enjoy the story and keep the extras at a minimum.

Other Marvel Titles

Marvel has a few other fun books this week, like Major X #1 written and drawn by Rob Liefeld!

You love to hate him, but here it is. The creator of X-Force sort of rips himself off, again. It’ll be nice to see him do Cable again though. Six-issue mini-series.

After a little delay, Marvel.s new all ages monthly Black Panther title is out,

Written and drawn by Kyle Baker, which kind of puts a weird spin on it. Multiple Eisner and Harvey Award winner and not your typical choice for all-ages fare.

We also want to give a shout out to one of the best books on the stand right now, the Immortal Hulk.

The book just keeps selling out, with issues going to multiple printings. It’s developed a huge word of mouth following in the shop and rightfully so.

Check this CBR article out if you want to know what all the fuss is about.

That’s it for this week. Thanks for making Detective #1000 such a hit. Look for some Free Comic Book Day info next week!

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This Tuesday, March 26th at 11:59 pm we’ll be hosting an early release event for Detective Comics #1000!

This will be your first chance to get the comic and check out all the covers that are available in person.

THE COVERS

We will be carrying all decades variants as well as the regular, blank, and midnight release variant.

All of these variants will be cover priced at $9.99. We’ve seen the book and it’s fantastic, check out the Bendis story here for a good idea of the quality inside!

Now let’s check out those covers!

Detective Comics #1000 main cover by Jim Lee.

Detective Comics #1000 1930’s Decades Variant by Steve Rude

Detective Comics #1000 1940’s Decades Variant by Bruce Timm

Detective Comics #1000 1950″s Decades Variant by Michael Cho

Detective Comics #1000 1960’s Decades Variant by Jim Steranko (!)

Detective Comics #1000 1970’s Decades Variant by Berni Wrightson

Detective Comics #1000 1980’s Decades Variant by Frank Miller (the cover with the most pre-orders at this point)

Detective Comics #1000 1990’s Decades Variant by Tim Sale

Detective Comics #1000 2000’s Decades Variant by JOCK

Detective Comics #1000 2010’s Decades Variant by Greg Capullo

Detective Comics #1000 Blank Variant

Detective Comics #1000 Midnight Release Variant

MIDNIGHT RELEASE

For the Midnight Release we will stay open until 12:30 am, and we’ll be raffling off a $100 Batman Haunted Knight Absolute Edition by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale. Everyone there will get a ticket and you must be present at 12:30 to win. (It’s more fun that way.)

We will also be offering 50% off Batman Back Issues and 20% off Batman Graphic Novels during this half hour. (We’ll pull some Batman dollar books out too.)

If it has Batman on it or in it, you can get the discount!

You will also be able to buy all your new comics releases for the week at the Midnight Event.

We should have more than enough copies to make it until Wednesday, though we’ll likely have sold out of a few of the covers by then. We’re just really excited to put the book into everyone’s hands and to give everyone the opportunity to get the cover they want.

Plus, we bought a Batman Pop Fun Collection that will be available first at the midnight event!’

This week is also the debut of DC’s new Original Graphic Novel line for Kids, with the release of Super Sons by Ridley Pearson and Ile Gonzalez.

This, combined with DC’s new line for Young Adults, DC Ink, marks a new era for DC, as the dip into the world of Youth OGN’s like Sisters and Awkward.

Here’s a map to what’s to come from DC Zoom.

Hope to see you at Midnight this Tuesday!

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