This Saturday -- May 7, 2011 -- is Free Comic Book Day
, an annual initiative by which comic book publishers and Diamond Comic Distributors produce a plethora of single-issue comic books
to be distributed for free
at participating comic book stores
. In celebration of the event, retailers typically book special guests like comics writers and artists and arrange for other festivities to bring new business into their stores, while comic book publishers offer titles designed to entice new readers.
As is the case every year, the retailers of the FCBD Committee have chosen ten "gold sponsors" whose offerings strongly reflect the spirit of the initiative. This year's include DC Comics, Marvel, IDW Publishing, Archaia, BOOM! Studios, Image, Dark Horse and more, and ComicsAlliance brings you previews of each of their free comic books. Check them out below.
PUBLISHER: MARVEL COMICS
(W) Dan Slott (A) Humberto Ramos
This first week of May award-winning Spider-Man writer Dan Slott and comics legend Humberto Ramos give you first, fateful glimpses at the biggest Spider-Man epic in years (coming later this summer)! It's a crime that we're giving this one away!
The new MADAME WEB can sense a great conflict brewing in SPIDER-MAN'S future and his only hope for survival lies in the hands of SHANG-CHI, THE MASTER OF KUNG FU! Can Spidey gain mastery of the martial arts in time to stop a deadly foe from his past? Watch out, True Believers, 'cause this is the issue that changes up Spider-Man like never before!
AVATAR LAST AIRBENDER / STAR WARS CLONE WARS
PUBLISHER: DARK HORSE COMICS
(W) Johane Matte, J. Torres, Ryder Wyndam (A) Johane Matte, Gurihiru, Ben Dewey
Dark Horse is thrilled to bring to readers of all ages Nickelodeon's Avatar: The Last Airbender and Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Both FCBD stories are excellent entry points to these wonderfully charming and imaginative worlds!
o A spin-off television miniseries Avatar: Legend of Korra will premiere on Nickelodeon in 2011!
o Features Savage Opress - the vicious new character from The Clone Wars TV show, as well as Breakout Squad, from Grosset & Dunlap's Clone Wars: Secret Missions novels!
PEP COMICS BETTY & VERONICA
PUBLISHER: ARCHIE COMICS
(W/A) Dan Parent
"You've Been Clubbed!!"
Betty and Veronica stubble upon the old Archie Club House and become inspired to bring back their clubbing days! But when the new club splits in two it's a battle of friendship! With Jughead pushing her buttons can Veronica let go of her competitive spirit in order to save her greatest friendships?
DARKWING DUCK & CHIP DALE RESCUE RANGERS
PUBLISHER: BOOM! STUDIOS/BOOM KIDS!
(W) Ian Brill (A) James Silvani, Leonel Castellani
An all ages flip book from BOOM! On one side, experience Darkwing Duck! Reprinting the blockbuster sold-out first issue of the Darkwing Duck ongoing series. But don't forget to flip this comic over, or you'll miss Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, reprinting the first issue of the critically acclaimed bestseller from BOOM! Two hit series, both all ages, one flip book of pure fun! Don't miss the return of the Disney Afternoon Revolution that grabbed the attention of Disney fans everywhere!
GREEN LANTERN FLASHPOINT SPECIAL EDITION
(W) Geoff Johns (A) Ivan Reis, Andy Kubert
This is the perfect jumping-on point for new readers who can't wait to see the Green Lantern major motion picture from Warner Bros.! Discover how and why Hal received the power ring that changed his life forever with this reprinting of Green Lantern #30, a pivotal chapter of the Green Lantern: Secret Origin graphic novel by Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis. Plus: No comic fan can afford to miss this exclusive first sneak peek of Flashpoint, DC's blockbuster event of 2011, by the all-star team of Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert!
GERONIMO STILTON & SMURFS
Geronimo Stilton: (W/A) Geronimo Stilton
Smurfs: (W) Peyo (A) Yvan Delporte
A sampling of one of the bestselling children's books characters (over 12 Million sold, 300,000+ this year) plus a full-color Smurfs story! Geronimo Stilton, editor of the Rodent's Gazette stars in "Play it Again, Mozart", as the Pirate Cats travel back in time to Milan, Italy in the year 1770, to steal a symphony composed by Mozart. Plus: The evil Gargamel takes his battle with the Smurfs to the seas - with surprising results - in "The Smurf Submarine"!
KIZOIC KUNG FU PANDA & RICHIE RICH
PUBLISHER: APE ENTERTAINMENT
Kizoic presents DreamWorks Animation's Kung Fu Panda and Classic Media's Richie Rich. Featuring stories from the artists and writers of the upcoming all-ages titles, due in stores April 2011. Also a never-before-seen sneak peek at the upcoming Strawberry Shortcake series and more! Ape Entertainment, it's evolution in progress.
LOCKE & KEY FREE COMIC BOOK DAY EDITION
PUBLISHER: IDW PUBLISHING
(W) Joe Hill (A) Gabriel Rodriguez
The acclaimed comic that is on its way to being a Fox television series is now yours for free! This special issue presents a 26-page story by creators Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez that sees the Locke family and their wondrous Keyhouse mansion beset on all sides by shdowy threats. The malevolent spirit Dodge continues his relentless quest to find the key to the black door, and raises an army of shadows to wipe out anyone who might get in his way. Surrounded and outnumbered, the Locke children find themselves fighting a desperate battle, all alone, in a world where the night itself has become their enemy.
MOUSE GUARD / DARK CRYSTAL FLIP BOOK
PUBLISHER: ARCHAIA ENTERTAINMENT
(W) David Petersen & Brian Holguin (A) David Petersen & Alex Sheikman
Archaia presents two, amazing, all-new stories in one fantastic flip book-David Petersen's Eisner Award-winning MOUSE GUARD and Jim Henson's beloved DARK CRYSTAL share the spotlight on Free Comic Book day!
On one side of the book, a brand-new tale of the fan-favorite Mouse Guard, elite warrior mice tasked with protecting common mice from predators, the elements and other dangers. It's the perfect introduction to Mouse Guard for new fans, and a rewarding treat for existing ones!
On the other side of the book, Archaia Entertainment is proud to present an exclusive prelude to its forthcoming series of DARK CRYSTAL graphic novels, featuring covers, art direction and concepts by Brian Froud, conceptual designer of the original film! This prelude begins the epic creation story of the world of Thra, and explores the origins of the world of the Dark Crystal!
SUPER DINOSAUR ORIGIN SPECIAL #1
PUBLISHER: IMAGE COMICS
(W) Robert Kirkman (A/C) Jason Howard
Super Dinosaur is finally here! In this standalone origin special you will learn everything there is to know about Derek Dynamo's best friend, Super Dinosaur! Where did he come from? How did he avoid extinction? What is Inner-Earth? And what the heck is DynOre and why is it so dangerous? All this and more will be revealed - and all for FREE!
For previews of the Free Comic Book Day Silver books, including titles from Top Cow, 2000AD, Dark Horse, Marvel BOOM! and much more, visit the Free Comic Book Day website