The Austin Chronicle

Free Comic Book Day

That time of year for gratis graphics

By Robert Faires, May 1, 2009, Arts

Panel 1: You, disgruntled, a dark cloud over your head. In the thought balloon to one side: "Nothing to read."

Panel 2: You, smiling, a lightbulb flashing over your head.

Panel 3: You, inside your friendly neighborhood comics shop, picking up a batch of comics that is absolutely free.

Whether you picture this scene penciled by Jack Kirby or Peter Bagge, Free Comic Book Day is bound to brighten your day. The annual graphics giveaway, now in its eighth year, will hand out more than 2 million comics across the United States, Canada, and England this Saturday, May 2. Drop by a participating comics shop, and you'll have your pick of 40 titles, from spandex slug-fests between superfriends to high school hijinks with Archie and the gang. Marvel pimps its latest silver-screen adaptation with Wolverine: Origin of an X-Man and its current Dark Reign company storyline with a team-up of good-guy Avengers and not-so-good-guy Dark Avengers, while DC Comics primes the pump for its summer epic starring Green Lantern, Blackest Night, and offers a separate sampler of kid-friendly superhero stories from its Johnny DC imprint. In fact, Free Comic Book Day offers much in the way of gateway drugs for the younger set: Disney/Pixar's Cars, Andy Runton's all-ages indie series Owly, Sonic the Hedgehog, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Transformers, and G.I. Joe. For older readers, this year's highlights include a sampler from the Hernandez Brothers' Love and Rockets, a Bongo sampler with The Simpsons and Futurama comics, Erik Larsen's Savage Dragon, and a Dark Horse flip book with Aliens and Predator tales. To find the participating store nearest you, visit

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