Free Comic Book Day 2012: Your Comprehensive Checklist

We all know comic books are expensive these days, right? Well, on the first Saturday in May, the industry comes together to try to make amends, by offering new and old readers alike free comic books that you can pick up right at your local comic book shop. That’s right, free.

Now, just hold your horses for a moment… not EVERY comic book in the store will be free. But a wide assortment of publishers do produce special edition comics for Free Comic Book Day, as it’s known, and you are the lucky beneficiary. So what do you need to know to reap the rewards of this bonanza?

First off, every store is different, particularly in just how many free comics they’ll let you have. ‘Cause the dirty little secret of Free Comic Book Day is that for the retailer, the comics aren’t REALLY free. They do pay a small amount for each comic they order, so they can have them on hand for all the good little boys and girls who dream of being superheroes one day. So be kind to your hard-working funnybook merchant; if they say you can have as many comics as you like, by all means, dig in, but if there’s a strict one comic per person policy, try not to scowl menacingly. You can always go shop-hopping to round up the other comics you want to grab.


Remember, only special FCBD comics and flipbooks are free. You are not entitled to a CGC 10.0 copy of 1938’s Action Comics #1, or even more recent non-FCBD comics. But don’t worry, you’ll be able to easily identify FCBD books both by their placement and by the spiffy FCBD logo imprinted upon them.

Here’s a checklist of free FCBD issues to look out for:


Now obviously Marvel’s Age of Ultron Point One book is going to be of interest to many, given that it leads into a big upcoming storyline. But you may also be curious to check the Hypernaturals, to see Abnett and Lanning doing the cosmic thing over at Boom! Studios. Archaia is really presenting a nice offering with a 48 page HARDCOVER sampling of some of the best works they’re publishing. And how wrong can you really go with Jurassic StrikeForce 5, which is apparently about mutated dinosaur humanoids armed to the teeth fighting against eeeevil aliens?  Do be aware that some of these offerings are reprints of existing material… not that there’s necessarily anything wrong with that. As they say, if you haven’t read it, it’s new to you. 


And hey, the fine folks behind FCBD have even made it easy for you to find a shop participating in the big day. Just use their handy-dandy Store Locator and away you go!

One last note. Free Comic Book Day is a great day for retailers, regulars and new customers alike. Have fun. Meet people who share your love for comics. Thank your shop for their great service, selection, value, or heck, even for just being there in these troubled economic times. And please, make it worth their while–stores like my favorite retailer, Fourth World Comics in Smithtown, NY are plunking down the time, money, and effort to host this event for you and your community, so reach into that wallet and pick up that extra trade paperback or collectible you’ve been wanting. You’ll be glad you did.

Question: If you had to pick only five of these books, what would you get? Once you’re back from the big day, let us know what you picked up!



  1. I preordered my comics & w/ my service I was able to get these comics.

    FCBD 2012 ATOMIC ROBO & FRIENDS (looking forward to starting up w/ this series)
    FCBD 2012 MOUSEGUARD LABYRITH & MORE HC (really excited to read this)


  2. The Archaia hardcover
    Atomic Robo
    Valiant preview

  3. Thanks to the wonders of Ebay I got:
    Avengers: Age Of Ultron Point One (hopefully a good jumping on point)
    Witchblade Unbalanced Pieces (never read any of this series willing to give it a try)
    Buffy/The Guild (I’d get anything even remotely related to Whedon)
    Star Wars/Serenity (I’d get anything even remotely related to Whedon)

    Sadly I won’t be able to make it to my local comic book store, although I went last week and they had a free Avengers comic (which of course I picked up) I assumed it was something from free comic book day they got early but obviously not, possibly a promotion timed for The Avengers film. Anyone know?

  4. There are two comic shops in my town which are both having there grand opening for FCBD. Its going to be a fun day.
    You got to love that the comic world does this. One of the reasons comics and the people involved are some of the best.

  5. Does anyone care about the comics this week?

  6. My LCS is giving away Ultron point 1 & New 52 to every customer, with store specific covers, as well as your choice of 2 others. Yes!

  7. I’m missing FCBD this year as I got a congress going on all week-end long but my LCS, knowing my taste in comics, gave me my copy of The New 52 in advance and my oh my is that book FUBAR! 😀

  8. DC New 52
    Age of Ultron
    Spiderman Season One
    Superman Family

    just four for me.

  9. i’ve barely heard anything about FCBD this year from my local shops..either they aren’t participating..or they just FAIL hard at social media and advertising in general.

    Its always fun to be able to flip through the books and discover cool things on the day. Kinda interested to see that Superman Family flip book and few others.

  10. I’m going with my nephew and nieces, and the store let’s us get 3 books a piece. So that’s 12 free comics, aw yeah! Maybe my bro and sis-in-law will pick up some books, too.

  11. Will these be available digitally?

  12. My Favorite Martian!? HA!

    Excited for this. I’m really interested in the two Dark Horse books and the Valiant one.

    Surprised IDW didn’t put out one of their 100 Pagers covering their more popular Media Tie-Ins (Trek/Who/TMNT/Transformers/GIJoe?)

  13. Just got back from my LCS. Picked up Ultron .1, New 52, Mouse Guard & Image 20 *rubshandswithglee*. Have a great day everyone.

  14. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    The top items on my list are the Archaia hardcover, Hypernaturals and the Superman Family flip book.

  15. Avengers Age of Ultron Point One
    DC Nation Superman Family Flip Book
    Mega Man
    Star Wars/Serenity

  16. Adventure Time
    MouseGuard HC
    Star Wars/ Serenity

  17. Do you guys know if the books will be available on comixology?

  18. Our LCS always gives 3 books per person, plus for every canned good you bring in for the local food bank you get an extra book. My son and I donated 15 cans, so we took home a total of 21 books… nice haul.

  19. MadCowDzz (@DarylFritz) says:

    My LCS was giving 10 books per person. It’s almost too much, I ended up grabbing doubles just because I could. They also didn’t have 2000AD Judge Dredd, which was disappointing.

    Spider-man: Season One
    DC New 52
    Star Wars / Serenity
    Buffy / The Guild

    Also grabbed a Vertigo The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo preview.

  20. I snagged all of these, because I am a junkie:

    Mouse Guard, Labyrinth and Other Stories
    Star Wars/Serenity
    Peanuts/Adventure Time
    Image 20
    Valiant 2012
    2000AD/Judge Dredd – Didn’t arrive due to truck accident, but my LCS will pull it for me when it arrives
    Atomic Robo
    Buffy/The Guild flip book
    Dinosaurs vs. Aliens
    Bongo Free For All/SpongeBob
    Yo Gabba Gabba!
    Bad Medicine #1
    The Smurfs/Tinkerbell
    The New 52

  21. I went downtown first thing as soon as the store opened, and I was able to pick up everything listed above EXCEPT Buffy and the Peanuts flip comic, which I really wanted. BUT, I am SO happy with what I got, and I got something for everyone in my family. So, all in all, a really great FCBD, and a big thanks to the store owners for their generosity and the awesome customer service, even though I didn’t buy much, because I had already picked up my normal order Wednesday. But, they understood that, and were great! THANKS!!!

  22. My LCS does just one free book per customer, so I grabbed Archaia’s hardcover. The best part of FCBD for me, was that my shop marked all the Marvel Masterworks hardcovers down to TEN bucks! I saw The Avengers last night, so I was pumped and grabbed Vol 1. of Cap, Vol 1 of JIM:Thor, and Vol 2. of FF (I’ve never read any FF, so I’ll give it a go.). I’m spending the rest of the day pouring over all the amazing Kirby art.

    My shop also did 50% of ALL trades when you bought five. I snagged some books I’d been wanting to get, but couldn’t afford before, like Blacksad and Petrograd. This has been one of the best Saturdays in a while.

  23. I came back with five (the store’s per-person limit):

    Dinosaurs vs. Aliens (Liquid Comics)
    Peanuts/Adventure Time (Kaboom!)
    Buffy/The Guild (Dark Horse)
    World of Aspen 2012 (Aspen)
    Atomic Robo & Friends (Red 5)

  24. I think it’s love at first sight for the Hypernaturals and me.

  25. In the New 52 Special, who is the dude in the lower left hand corner on the gatefold page? Looks like he’s wearing goggles. He was the only one I didn’t recognize.

  26. First, HOLY HANNAH, this is a day to be survived. Next time you’re in your shop, thank your retailer. FCBD is fun, but takes a lot of prepping and manpower that smaller businesses usually don’t have time for. To all of the customers, artists/creators, and Stormtroopers at my store, thank you for being amazing.

    Second, I’m fascinated by how other shops distributed their books. We had some free for all, and then the rest distributed into variety packs that customers could get for spending ten dollars or more. Did anyone have a store that did something they loved with how the books were handed out? I’d love to hear it.

    The only ones I snagged for myself were Archaia and Atomic Robo. I’m not gonna lie, I want to be Doctor Dinosaur when I grow up.

    • Well, I’m not one who cares for games. I think if all the comics were supposed to be equally free, despite the “value” people put on some of them, then, the stores should distribute them as such. To answer your question, I didn’t realize some stores were playing these games to string people along and limit what they could get, in hopes of getting bigger profits. I do realize profits and a bigger customer base are the point of FCBD, but, let’s keep it simple, folks. The more variety of free comics you give one person, in the true spirit of it, the more chances you will have of selling a bigger variety of comics to the same customer later. I was lucky in that I was one of the first customers in the store I went to, and the first thing they said was, ” Please feel free to take as many and whatever you want, but please also only take one of each, because some quantities are limited.” To answer the question, that’s my favorite method. First come, first served, unlimited, but one a peice, and on the honor system. I know my experience today will have me going back to that store every week. And, just from the 6 out of 40+ comics I have read so far, that I got free today, I am already adding 3 to my weekly list. That’s 1/2. And I still have those 35+ more to go. Bottom line, don’t underestimate the power of free samples. Give them freely, with no strings, and I promise you, you will sell more later. Also, shame on those people who have already put their free comics on Ebay to sell. You know who you are. I think that’s shameful and greedy, and one of the reasons the stores are playing those games. You took a free gift, and meant to profit from it. TACKY!! If you’re not getting the comics for yourself or your family, then don’t take them. I’ll shut up now. Thanks!

    • To quote my boss: “Those free comics aren’t cheap.” To get what we had in the store (which ran out of everything five hours into our day), we dropped as much money on them as we would have two weeks of normal Diamond shipments.

      Small businesses have to consider the bottom line at a certain point. And the fun and goodwill generated for Saturday was wonderful, but in this economy that was HALF A MONTH of inventory purchased for no profit.

      Sadly, reality creeps it’s ugly head around the corner, but we deal the best way we can. Half of the titles were for free, the rest were “free with purchase,” which I feel better about than “you only get three books, period.”

    • Mr. Graves: Do you work at Sarge’s in New London, CT? That’s where I went yesterday for FCBD and they had the same distribution system you described (some free titles available for all, others given out with purchases in $10 increments).

      To me, this is entirely fair. The more popular titles (which I would guess are more appealing to new readers) were readily available to all, while the more-indie titles were rewards for actually supporting the business. I showed up an hour after the store opened, and they had already run out of a dozen or so titles. If everything was just left out for whoever, I’m sure I would have missed out on some cool stuff (namely; the gorgeous Archaia HC).

  27. I was only allowed to pick 3 from my local shop, they needed to make sure everyone got some, which is still cool. I got Transformers, Atomic Robo and The New 52. I am so stoked for the new Transformers, I would drop all of my other pulls just to get this book. I will definately need to beg the store owner to get this ordered because I am sure he won’t if it’s just me.

  28. consafo80 (@consafo80) says:

    Out of the few I got the new 52 was my favorite. Looks like some good stuff coming up.

  29. Best FKBD books for me were the new 52 book, the red five atomic robo book and(of course) the archaia hardcover. Sadly could not get ahold of the judge dredd book. And for the record i also spent $15 on back issues, support your stores!:)

  30. We got the following:

    DC Nation Superman Family Flip Book
    Buffy/The Guild
    Peanuts/Adventure Time Flipbook
    The Hypernaturals
    Dinosaurs Versus Aliens
    Valiant Preview

    We went to two different stores, but neither had any of these: 🙁

    Avengers: Age Of Ultron Point One
    Spider-Man Season One
    DC Comics The New 52 Special Edition

  31. my LCS has chosen not to participate in FCBD which is a shame but totally understandable, they did participate for a good few years but saw little to no benefit in their market. Its a shame because I think there is a really great line up this year. Luckily a store based over here that has a strong ebay presence has been doing the FCBD books for 99p buy it now (inc free P+P) which when you look at the time and postage is really good.

    I have the DC book, the Image 20, Yo Gabba gabba and the mouse guard all on the way for four quid… happy with that