Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) is a single day when participating comic book specialty shops around the world give away comic books absolutely free to anyone who comes into their shops! Founded on the belief that for every person out there, there’s a comic book they’ll love, the annual event offers a huge selection of free titles designed to appeal to a broad range of age levels and their tastes.
Every year, on the first Saturday in May, the industry comes together to give away free comics and encourage both curious, first-time comic book readers and seasoned comic book fans to flock to the best place in the comic book community: local comic shops.
Major publishers such as DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Dark Horse Comics, IDW Publishing, BOOM! Studios, Dynamite Entertainment, and Image Comics, along with a slew of independent publishers (such as Hermes Press), put out free comics for fans to enjoy at local comic shops that participate in Free Comic Book Day.
The diverse range of titles available each year proves that there’s truly a book for everyone: from superheroes, to popular film and television shows, to beloved video games, and all-ages tales. Popular series available in the past include Pokemon, Doctor Who, SpongeBob, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Riverdale, Overwatch and Star Wars.
In addition to passing out free comics on the first Saturday in May, many comic shops also host community events such as costume contests, creator signings, drawings by guest artists, raffles and prizes, photos with costumed characters, and other fun community activities throughout the day.
In 2015, a 32 page comic book was released in full color by Hermes Press featuring sample classic work from Gold Key, King Comics and Charlton. The comic book also featured upcoming comics yet to be released by Hermes Press (by Peter David and Sal Velluto).
The following year, in 2016, Hermes Press again released another Phantom edition, not only celebrating the 15th anniversary of Free Comic Book Day, but it also coincided with the Phantoms 80th anniversary. It was also printed with color internal pages, running for 36 pages.
An exclusive variant to the cover above was released at 3 Rivers Comic Con in USA, also in 2016.