Free Comic-Book Day marks its first decade on May 7th. This, as the name
suggests, is a day on which comic books are given out for free at comic-book shops throughout North America and possibly beyond. It’s held each year on the first Saturday in May; the inaugural event was tied to the release of the first Spider-Man film, and many of the issues offered tie in to well-known media properties — ones that originated in comic books most definitely included, like the Green Lantern and Captain America / Thor issues available this year. Publishers are encouraged if not required to have officially-branded FCBD material be suitable for all ages.
The FCBD website, hosted by Diamond Comic Distributors, includes a link to a store locator, a list of frequently asked questions about the day, and a showcase of issues being released this year, from Archie and Disney material to Ape’s Kung-Fu Panda to Bongo’s Simpsons / Futurama collection to more adult fare from Dark Horse to the aforementioned DC and Marvel superhero spotlights.
I don’t think that Free Comic-Book Day on the whole brings in new readers, and thus potential customers, the way its supporters initially hoped. But many shops do host a nice community event, perhaps including a sale on non-FCBD items; at worst, dedicated fans get exposure to material they might not otherwise sample at no cost.