You may have seen the hashtag #FCBD on your favorite social medium as of late. In case you were confused by the jumble of letters, that stands for “Free Comic Book Day.” The day is quickly approaching, happening on May 6th of this year. If you’ve never heard of the event, we’ve put together a short primer to help you out.
What is it?
Taking place on the first Saturday of every May, Free Comic Book Day is an international event in which comic book stores give away comics to anyone who comes in. It’s not every comic, mind you; there are a wave of comics branded with the FCBD logo which are eligible. But these titles span such an array of genres and ages that you’re bound to find something that appeals to you.
FCBD has been such an outstanding success that 2017 marks its fifteenth year in existence.
Where is it?
Everywhere! OK, well, not really everywhere. Not all comic shops participate in FCBD. Luckily, there’s a comic shop locator on freecomicbookday.com that will point you to your nearest participating store.
What can I expect?
Here’s where it gets fun. First of all, you can expect free comics. However, which comics is up to the shop. There are different tiers of offerings available at different stores so it all depends on how your local comic shop is participating. That Store Locator should help you determine where to go if you want to score a specific issue.
Ah, now you’re asking the right questions.
There’s a ton of good stuff. Fans of Marvel and DC movies won’t be disappointed as both Guardians of the Galaxy and Wonder Woman get the FCBD treatment this year, just in time for their respective films to hit theaters. But Marvel is also offering a chapter from their Secret Empire storyline while DC taps the popular DC Super Hero Girls for a comic.
Archie Comics gets into the mix with two titles of their own. The first is an all-new Betty & Veronica with art by the amazing Adam Hughes. Archie will also be offering a comic based on the popular Riverdale television show from The CW. That one should go over nicely.
A few highlights (or at least titles that I’m most excited for) include:
- TMNT: Dimension X prelude from IDW
- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess/Ocarina of Time from Viz Media
- Doctor Who from Titan Comics
- Buffy: The High School Years from Dark Horse Comics
I’m also excited for Lion Forge Comics, which is using Free Comic Book Day as a stepping stone to launch their newest series, Catalyst Prime: The Event. Written by Christopher Priest with art by Joseph Illidge, the solicit for Catalyst Prime sounds pretty solid and this should be a good series. And with the intro to the series being free, it’s worth checking out,
Of course, that’s not all that will be available. Head over to the FCBD website for the full run down. (http://www.freecomicbookday.com/catalog) (Also, once again, not all of the titles will be available everywhere. You may want t check with your local shop to see if they ordered the one you’re looking for if they participate at that level.)
Yes, so much more!
Because this is such a huge event for local comic stores, many of them go all out to promote it. One of my local shops brings in members from the 501st Legion, a devoted group of Star Wars costumers who make various charity appearances. Every year you can see them roaming the sidewalk outside of the store, greeting pedestrians, interacting and taking pictures with customers waiting on line and just bringing an air of joviality to the occasion.
Yet another of my local comic and gaming store had cupcakes. Yes, homemade cupcakes with little plastic rings featuring Thor and Iron Man. That was a tremendous treat. (Sadly, this store has since gone out of business. I was definitely looking forward to seeing what they did for FCBD this year.)
Many comic book stores also host writer and artist appearances. They’ll invite creators to interact with fans, sign autographs, sell sketches… They basically turn Free Comic Book Day into little comic cons.
Some stores will host free or paid raffles and give customers a chance to win some cool prizes.
A lot of the supplemental fun is up to the individual comic shop and not hosted by FCBD so call your local store to see what, if anything, they may be planning.
I hope many of you are planning on visiting your local comic shop(s) on Free Comic Book Day. If you do just remember, these comics are free to you but the stores still have to pay for them. So when you get your free stuff, make a purchase as well. Like any other business, local comic shops only survive if they turn a profit. If you want to be able to enjoy Free Comic Book Day in the coming years, show them some monetary support.
VIZ Media delivers one hell of a digital manga update for November that features a wide variety of new series launches and digital exclusives. Several manga bundles are also offered this month, as well as a special 24-hour Cyber-Monday sale planned for November 30th.
Fans of Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata (Death Note, Bakuman) will not want to miss the launch of Platinum End, their brand new series, offered as a digital exclusive from the VIZ Manga app, VIZManga.com, the WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP app, shonenjump.viz.com, and also from ComiXology! Chapter 1 is available now for only $0.99, with new chapters of the series releasing monthly, simultaneous with Japan!
Other new manga titles launching this month include Arina Tanemura’s latest shoujo series, Idol Dreams, and the Shounen Jump fiction novel release of Naruto: Kakashi’s Story.
So what can you expect from these stories?
Well, Platinum End is a dark story of humans and angels. Mirai is a boy who has lost hope in the future. Can a fateful meeting with an angel turn his life around, or will he be plunged into further despair?
Famed shoujo manga creator Arina Tanemura (Full Moon wo Sagashite) is also releasing Idol Dreams! At age 31, office worker Chikage Deguchi feels she missed her chances at love and success. When word gets out that she’s a virgin, Chikage is humiliated and wishes she could return to the time when she was still young and popular. She takes an experimental drug that changes her appearance back to when she was 15. Now Chikage is determined to pursue everything she missed out on all those years ago—including becoming a star!
We’ve all been jonesing for just a little more from the Naruto world, and with this new fiction novel, featuring artwork by creator Masashi Kishimoto, a year has passed since the Fourth Great Ninja War, and Kakashi’s appointment as Hokage looms. But first he heads to the Land of Waves for a dangerous mission rescuing hostages from a top-secret airship. There he confronts a ninja whose heart is frozen by tragedy. Having lost both his friend’s eye and his greatest abilities, can Kakashi protect anyone from his coldhearted foe? What is the true meaning of the Will of Fire gained in the distant heavens? Kakashi finds these answers and more as he enters a new ninja era.
Personally, I’m emotionally invested in all three, but I’m also addicted to manga!
The second it was announced that the creator of Naruto, Masashi Kishimoto, would be making his first ever appearance at this year’s New York Comic Con (and the United States), I made a silent promise to myself that come hell or high water, I would attend. Naruto is one of those iconic manga epics, with over 70 volumes and a slew of movies that supplement the equally lengthy anime, and as I queued up with fellow fans, it struck me just how popular the series is.
Once seated and weirdly serenaded by a techno version of the Spongebob Squarepants theme song, the panel moderator welcomed Viz Media’s President and CEO, Ken Sasaki to the stage, where he regaled us with the impressive selling power of Naruto (220 million copies, bringing it to the third highest-selling manga of all time). It wasn’t long before the crowd got antsy, however, and with a thunderous roar of welcome, I laid eyes on the creator of one of my all-time favorite properties.
He politely bowed to the crowd before settling in and pleasantly chatting away in response to the questions put forth by the moderator. Things I learned from this panel included:
- At no point in time did he ever imagine Naruto would get to 72 volumes, in fact, he thought it’d be canceled 10 weeks in (something that is a common happening in the world of manga).
- When asked if there was pressure to keep the story going, he laughed, but admitted that he put his foot down on ending it, since he knew how he how to end the story. Everything about Naruto and Sasuke’s reconciliation in the Valley in front of the hokage statues was something that was in his head early on.
- While he was finally able to get married, relax, and watch his kids grow, he still hasn’t had the time to go on a proper honeymooon!
- At this point, discussion turned to his “rival,” One Piece creator, Eiichiro Oda. Kishimoto had a good natured laugh talking about how often they would cross each other’s path and their long standing friendly competition. When he told Oda he was ending Naruto, he said it felt like he may have inspired him to create an ending for One Piece.
- Kishimoto first realized Naruto got big when he started receiving fanmail in languages he couldn’t read. The reality of its reach sunk in when he got a hold of YouTube and took in the passion of fans over the internet, especially when he saw people cosplay his characters for the first time. At this point, he grinned and announced he just realized that the crowd was full of cosplayers, to whom he apologized for designing complex costumes for his characters.
- As a young person, he enjoyed and drew inspiration from manga like Monster, 20th Century Boys, Phoenix, and Slam Dunk, so it was always a goal to succeed in the serialized magazine, Shounen Jump.
- Our moderator then stated that in America, Shounen Jump launched with what he described as the American Golden Age in manga, with Naruto alongside chapters of Bleach, Dragonball Z, and of course, One Piece. Kishimoto humbly expressed how happy and embarrassed it made him for his work to be referred to as part of the Golden Age.
As a treat, we even got to watch his sketch two pieces LIVE, one of his title character, and one of the character Jiraiya, using a cosplayer in the crowd as his model!
Kishimoto finally got to talk about Boruto. It was the first movie he got to work on from beginning to end in order to bring his work to life for the last time. Viz was even kind enough to screen the trailer, after hearing cheers from the enthusiastic crowd, myself included. Boruto, an epilogue of sorts, will follow Naruto’s son, who is a chip off the old block.
Once there wasn’t a dry eye in the house, Kishimoto was asked if he had a closing statement, which he did:
“I heard that there were many fans who weren’t able to make it today and to hear that after seeing how many people are already here, you know, this is just a little title that I started working on many years ago without ever thinking about any effect it might have, much less a following! All I can say is to know how many of you, how many fans love my work, that follow my work. It’s just, it’s so faithful. The only thing I can even think of saying is THANK YOU.”
In response, all I can say is: No. Thank YOU, Kishimoto-san. I’m nearly thirty years old, and it was your work, your acute ability to make a girl from Texas, half a world away from Japan, fall in love with manga for the first time at 15, and for that, I really am eternally grateful to have fallen in love with Naruto and his story.
It’s that time of year again, the leaves are changing color from brown to brown..er… Uh.. Well it’s fall in California, that means we are only a few days away from the last major CA con of the year. COMIKAZE! After a year full of Cons that require travel having the final one of the year be in my backyard is nice. Just a hop, skip, and a jump into downtown LA and we are ready to nerd out for an entire weekend. But hearing about my commute isn’t what you came here for. Let’s dive right in to what has me excited this weekend.
You can check out the whole list of special guests for this years show right HERE. But the top of my list is Julie Newmar, Alfie Allen, Gwendoline Christie, and Jim Lee. Seriously guys, Julie FREAKING Newmar and Gwendoline Christie!!! It’s too much for my poor little nerd heart to handle.
Panels I am stoked for on Friday!
Room 404AB at 5pm
THE KAIJU KINGDOM LIVE PODCAST! – GODZILLA’S 60TH
ANNIVERSARY/GAMERA’S 50TH ANNIVERSARY – The King of Monsters and Friend to Children celebrate some major milestones this year. If you are a fan of Godzilla, Gamera, or Kaiju in general you should make some time to check out this panel.
303AB – 6pm
THE WRITER’S JOURNEY: BREAKING INTO COMIC BOOK AND HOLLYWOOD
SCRIPTWRITING – For the writer in every nerd, hopefully they’ll answer all the burning questions I have. Even if they don’t it looks like it will be an amazing panel with guests like Erika Alexander (Concrete Park) and Tony Puryear (Concrete Park, Eraser).
If neither of these panels get you excited Friday is surprisingly jam-packed for such a short day, you might want to check out the Geek Fashion show on the main stage at 6:30 or learn more about Steampunk in room 308AB at 6pm!
Even though Friday is a short day, but that only prepares us for the inSTANity (see what I did there) of Saturday and Sunday! Here are the panels I am way too excited about on Saturday.
We start the day off early at 9:00 AM with:
408AB – 9AM
NOSFERATU – A RESURRECTION OF THE LEGENDARY FILM STARRING DOUG
JONES! PLUS A SNEAK PEAK OF BEAMSCREEN.COM.
The official launch of Nosferatu starring Doug Jones as the monstrous Count
Orlok in a feature-length revisit of the classic masterpiece of horror. Plus
the debut of BeamScreen.com – a revolutionary, cloud-based studio that
incorporates artist’s talents worldwide into its feature quality productions.
Participants: Daamen Krall, David Fisher (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari),
Chris Duddy (True Lies, Terminator 2, Titanic, Robocop), Eban Schletter
(SpongeBob, Thrilling Adventure Hour, Drunk History), Doug Jones (Pan’s
Labyrinth, Hellboy I & II, Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Buffy the
After a quick break for some souvenir hunting on the floor the Main STAGE of COMIKAZE is going to experience some justice.
HOT TOPIC MAIN STAGE – 10:30AM
SPOTLIGHT: ADAM WEST
TV’s most prolific Batman joins us to talk all things Batman, and help
celebrate Batman’s 75th Anniversary
and while there are tons of things to fill Saturday with I would be remiss if I didn’t make sure I made it to my favorite podcast’s panel.
404AB – 12:30pm
THE THRILLING ADVENTURE HOUR
The Thrilling Adventure Hour is a staged show in the style of old-time radio
performed live, monthly at Largo at the Coronet in Hollywood as well as on
the road. The show sells out monthly and features all of your favorite actors
from the worlds of TV, comedy, animation, film, theater, and improv.
Participants: Ben Acker, Ben Blacker, Aaron Ginsburg, Paul F. Tompkins, Craig
Cackowski, Hal Lublin, Janet Varney, Autumn Reeser and more!
After a Saturday that is full of so many things to do, you may be asking yourself. “But what about Sunday Sam? What if we can’t go the first two days?” Well never fear dear reader of things written on websites! Sunday helps Comikaze go out with a bang, and here are the things you should check out!
303AB – 12pm
THE BOYS WHO BUILT BATMAN
Who really created Batman? Was it the Caped Crusader’s officially credited
creator, Bob Kane, or was it his secret collaborator, Bill Finger? What
influences first shaped the Batman mythos back in 1939, from his Detective
Comics #27 debut to the revelation of his tragic origin? Experts conduct
a forensic investigation into this question of historical, cultural, and ethical
Participants: Dr. Travis Langley, Alan Kistler, Jens Robinson
404AB – 1pm
NERDIST WRITERS PANEL: COMICS EDITION SPOTLIGHT ON ROB PRIOR
Be there as part of this LIVE taping of the show when we deep dive into
Rob’s artistic evolution from a young painter for Dungeons & Dragons to his
two-handed painting approach developed while working on Spawn, Evil Ernie
and Heavy Metal.
Participants: Heath Corson, Rob Prior, Adam Beechen
Stay in that same room for the next panel!!!!
SECRETS OF THE FLASH! – A GEEK HISTORY LESSON AND GAME SHOW ON
THE SCARLET SPEEDSTER
How much do you really know about the Flash, the star of the CW’s newest
superhero show? Watch a live recording of the Geek History Lesson Podcast
as they challenge comic book writer Sterling Gates (Kid Flash) and Geek &
Sundry’s 2 Broke Geeks to a Flash trivia contest where only the audience can win prizes!
Participants: Jason Inman, Ashley Victoria Robinson (The Red Shirt Diaries,
Co-Host of Geek History Lesson), Sterling Gates (Kid Flash, Supergirl and
Vibe), Omar Najam, Mia Resella (2 Broke Geeks on YouTube)
And that’s it. Those are the things I think you should take some time to check out this weekend at Comikaze. Have you had a chance to check out the schedule? What does your list look like?
Let us know in the comments!
Last year we listed some of our favorite fictional couples. WELL GUESS WHAT? This year I’m turning the spotlight on some of our fictional ladies who manage to ride solo (and one who does that literally OH SNAP), and still succeed. In order to qualify for this list, the ladies didn’t necessarily have to remain single til their dying day, but they did need to remain independent, and getting their man could not be one of their main goals.
We all have relationships we would like to forget, past partners we wish would drop off the face of the earth and for Nakano, that had finally happened. He is successful in his job, and as he’s about to meet the contractors he will be working with closely, his past catches up with him in the form of old friend, Tsuda Keisuke, the lead contact for the contracting group. What is so special about Tsuda? Apparently not much more than one homoerotic dalliance near the end of their senior year in high school.
Oh, yes, my fellow manga enthusiasts, this is a yaoi manga.
For those of you not in the know, yaoi can mean several things (my favorite being “Yamete, oshiri ga itai” which means “Stop, my ass hurts!”), but first and foremost, it means love between two boys.
Nakano is a no nonsense sort of person, intent on maintaining a professional demeanor at all times, but slowly the cheerful Tsuda chips away at his armor. As their first project comes to a close, Nakano slowly begins to question his skills as a professional as he completely flubs their presentation leaving him angry as he waits for Tsuda to break the news. This escalates into a fiery outburst of hurt feelings and rejection, all of which Tsuda was left speechless by as Nakano storms off into the night, bluntly stating he’ll ask to be reassigned so he won’t have to see Tsuda any longer. As is the case in most romantic manga, the odds are stacked against the resolute Nakano and he is repeatedly thrust together with Tsuda until one night, they drink too much.
An incredibly hot kiss spans several panels before Nakano’s brain overthinks everything and he forcibly kicks Tsuda out at the same time, burying his feelings toward him. Work becomes increasingly more awkward and just when it seems like the two can finally understand each other, the volume ends.
Yessiree, that’ll definitely keep you coming back for more, particularly if you’re a fan of common manga tropes.
False Memories doesn’t bring anything entirely original to the reader, but it’s a fun, fast read that will absolutely keep you entertained…until you have to wait for volume 2 of course!
False Memories volume 1 is out in stores July 9th and my fellow yaoi lovers…enjoy.