Free Comic Book Day 2013
The 11th giveaway of four-color fun runs the gamut from 'Archie' to 'The Walking Dead'
Just as Robert Downey Jr.'s third solo outing in the gold and crimson armor of a onetime B-list superguy signals that summer superhero blockbusters are here to stay, so, too, do the 53 comics being given away gratis all across the continent on Saturday signal that Free Comic Book Day is no longer a dicey gambit at building readership but a major event on the pop-culture calendar. True, the event still rides the cape-tails of whatever masked adventurer's cinematic epic opens the season – even Tony Stark knows that if it ain't broke, don't fix it – but when the number of free titles being offered is up 50% from just three years ago, publishers are clearly seeing some bang for their buck. So are retailers, who report hundreds and, in some cases, even thousands of customers walking through their doors on FCBD. Despite the day's origins in luring moviegoers jacked up on superhero antics onscreen, the free comics grow ever more diverse, with this year offering science fiction (Star Wars, 2000 AD, Judge Dredd, Atomic Robo), fantasy (Steam Engines of Oz, Ramayan Reloaded), TV tie-ins (Grimm), horror (The Walking Dead, FUBAR), humor (Bongo Free-For-All with the Simpsons, The Tick), old-school comic strips (Prince Valiant, Buck Rogers), and, hey kids!, comics for you: 20 all-ages titles, ranging from Sesame Street to Spongebob and Disney Fairies to Pippi Longstocking. Oh, and don't worry, the caped crusaders are still well-represented, with Marvel laying the groundwork for The Avengers 2 in a teaser for the next big event, Infinity, and DC anticipating its summer movie smash, Man of Steel, and the character's 75th anniversary with a Superman book. You can take your pick at any of a half-dozen participating stores in Central Texas, and maybe meet a comics creator in the process. (Note the new Anderson Lane locations for both Dragon's Lair and Capstone Comics, which opened its new space May 1.) For more details, visit the FBCD website, www.freecomicbookday.com.
AUSTIN BOOKS & COMICS
5002 N. Lamar, 512/454-4197, www.austinbooks.com
Guests: writers Steve Niles (30 Days of Night) and Matt Sturges (House of Mystery, FCBD release Damsels), 10am-4pm; artist Yehudi Mercado (Pantalones, TX), 11am-3pm; artist Matt Frank (upcoming Godzilla: Rulers of the Earth), 4-7pm
DRAGON'S LAIR COMICS & FANTASY
2438 W. Anderson Ste. B-1, 512/454-2399, www.dlair.net
Guests: writers Ernie Cline (Ready Player One), 10am-noon, and Aaron Allston (Star Wars novels); artist Michael Mauro (Atom Bug), DJ Crescendoll
TRIBE COMICS & GAMES
2919 Manchaca #102, 512/693-4300, www.tribecag.com
1745 W. Anderson, 512/339-4251, www.capstonecomics.com
2110 Slaughter #147, 512/282-1302, www.juniorscomics.com
ROGUES GALLERY COMICS & GAMES
1601 S. I-35 #360, Round Rock, 512/279-8888, www.roguesgallerytx.com
Free Comic Book Day, Steve Niles, Ernie Cline, Aaron Alston, Austin Books & Comics, Dragon's Lair Comics & Fantasy, Tribe Comics and Games, Rogues Gallery Comics and Games, Junior's Comics, Capston Comics