How to Free Comic Book Day the Central Florida Way

Photo by Mickey Hojdila

Permit me, for a moment, to act a bit like J. Jonah Jameson:
This is all that Spiderman’s fault!

Photo by Mickey Hojdila

Photo by Mickey Hojdila

You see, in 2001, an article was written that superhero movies help boost comic book sales, and, in the article, Joe Fields suggested giving away comic books.  So there was this guy named Jim Valentino (he worked on the early books of Guardians of the Galaxy) who was now a publisher and he suggested May the 4th 2002 as a day to give away comics to coincide the opening weekend of the new Spiderman movie.   It. Was. AMAZING. (Although they tried to move it to sometime in July, they quickly moved it back to the Mt4 weekend in 2003).

This is a day where you get stuff.  FREE.  No catch.  Some shops put restrictions (three books per person is normal), but the restrictions help ensure everyone gets a taste of the free comic goodness.  If you are a geek, or a kid, or a reader, this is your holiday.

For the past few years, our family has taken this event and turned it into a family holiday.  Bedtime is early the night before.  Alarms are set.  Children are dressed and ready to go before the parents even have their morning coffee.  It’s like Christmas, but without all the let down and debate about commercialization.  We load up the car with snacks and drinks.  We pull up the ever advancing version of a mapping system.  Then, we drive.  All over town.  Collecting all those tender morsels of inky happy hero-y goodness.

Aside from December 23*, this is our biggest shopping day of the year.  Not only do we get a metric butt load of free books, but we also pick up a few collectibles along the way.  We have a decent collection of art, toys, old books, and other cherished treasure.  And, there is usually a new title that we fall in love with and add to our subscription list.

*Last minute Christmas shopping for the win!

Here are my must-stop shops for Free Comic Book Day 2015:

  1. A Comic Shop: Without a doubt, the best geeky goodness in all of Orlando. Not only do they have a killer selection of free books (that are well-spaced throughout the store, eliminating that long-line-at-Disney feeling), they extend Free Comic Book Day to the entire month of May. Spend $3+ on four or more Saturdays in May and, at the end of the month, you’ll walk away with a completely free graphic novel. Pro FCBD Tip: Hit this store around lunch time.  The Geek Easy has delicious grilled cheeses and a decent beer selection.
  2. Acme Superstore: Just like Fun Spot, this place is HUGE. For Free Comic Book Day, they dedicate their entire “Danger Room” to free comics. Right now the store has a Boss Krang exhibit going on, so be sure to peep the art from around the world while picking up your free comics. Additionally, Acme has a ridiculously large selection of all kinds of memorabilia. Seriously. I bought my boyfriend Ferris Bueller’s car (matchbox-sized) one time. If you have a geek love, Acme’s bound to have some way to fulfill it.
  3. Coliseum of Comics: There are bunches of Coliseum of Comics locations all throughout Orlando. We tend to hit up a couple different ones every year. The stores are pretty big, with a nice, organized selection of the FCBD books. They also tend to have a bunch of different costumed characters hanging about for photo ops. Another pro tip: Don’t forget your camera on FCBD!
  4. Living Dead Comics: Living Dead is a pretty new addition to the Orlando comic scene. Last year, when we were there we got an awesome piece of memorabilia. The store, which is owned by a couple who truly love comics, had an artist create a piece of art (only 50 made!) specifically for Living Dead’s FCBD celebration. It featured and adorable (if you can imagine it!) Rick Grimes, plus the store’s logo. Bonus: The artist was there, so we got it signed too!
  5. Mike’s Comics & Collectibles: Mike’s was one of our last stops of the day last year. In fact, we weren’t even sure we were gonna stop. SO GLAD WE DID. They did FCBD up right, with a prize wheel out front and some FCBD offerings that we were unable to find elsewhere. They also had a pretty incredible selection of blind boxes, which I am a sucker for.

UNKNOWN BONUS: We’re definitely gonna stop by Hudson’s Comics, which recently opened. Not only do they have comics, both old and new, but they have a ridiculous selection of old gamer gear … from the Atari to the Playstation 2, and SO MANY games to go along with them. We’re super-excited to see what they bring to the table on Free Comic Book Day.

If you have a shop that you love, let us know.  Please.  Because, we adore comic shops.  Now, keep in mind, the comic book industry is giving you a taste.  They are hoping you becoming addicted.  That you will become a fiend.  Craving the stories, desperate for a hit of art.  But, why not tempt fate and go grab some Free Comic Books!

Photo by Mickey Hojdila

Photo by Mickey Hojdila