What Is Free Comic Book Day? Celebrate Your Favorite Heroes Every Year

Every year, comics fans celebrate Free Comic Book Day, but what does that mean? Here's what you need to know about the informal holiday.


May 5 2023, Updated 4:35 p.m. ET

Free Comic Book Day 2023
Source: Free Comic Book Day

For over two decades, Free Comic Book Day has been a tradition that keeps the excitement of comic book fandom alive. The goal of the event is to support participating independent comic book stores across the country. Whether you're new to comics or an established reader, it's always fun to try something new!

Here's the scoop on what Free Comic Book Day actually entails and how you can get your free comics today.

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The Justice League from DC Comics.
Source: DC Comics

Free Comic Book Day is held on the first Saturday in May.

Per the Free Comic Book Day website, the event is a single day when "participating comic book specialty shops across North America and around the world give away comic books absolutely free to anyone who comes into their shops." The website also notes that the first Free Comic Book Day began in 2002, and that comic book stores in the U.S. and Canada often participate.

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It's important to note that free comics are for participating stores only, so be sure to use the Free Comic Book Day website to look up your location and identify which stores near you are involved in the event.

Each participating store also has a different Free Comic Book Day policy, so if you're hoping to walk away with more than one free comic, that might not always be possible. Please be patient and respectful of the employees trying to make this tradition happen!

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Each year, the list of free comics that stores offer for Free Comic Book Day changes. In 2023, there are forty-four different titles available! These titles include The Umbrella Academy/ The Witcher, Archie Horror Presents: The Cursed Library, Seismic Stories, Red Sonja: She-Devil with a Sword #0, DogMan and the League of Misfits, Star Trek, Avengers/ X-Men, Amazing Spider-Man/ Venom, Tom Holland's Fright Night, Star Wars/ Avatar: The Last Airbender, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Marvel Voices #1, and more.

Free Comic Book Day is made possible by a "panel representing all parts of the comic book industry: retailers, publishers, suppliers, and Diamond Comic Distributors," per their website. Publishers must apply to provide the free comics to stores everywhere, and Diamond Comic Distributors perform the shipping, PR, and marketing for the event.

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Main characters of Marvel Comics.
Source: Marvel Comics

Are the comics from Free Comic Book Day really free?

In a word: yes! Each customer who walks into a participating Free Comic Book Day store will receive at least one free comic. Participating stores will likely not include chains such as Barnes & Noble or consignment shops with a comics rack, because the event is specific to supporting independent comic book stores whose sole focus is comics-related merchandise.

So, the first Saturday in May, head down to your local comic book store and have fun!

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