This Saturday is the annual celebration of all things graphically novelistic: Free Comic Book Day. Free Comic Book Day is a very simple exercise: you go into your local comic book shop, and there are free comic books.
This may seem complex, so we’ll go over it again:
Step 1. Find a convenient comic book store. In the downtown core, you have umpteen choices: Hairy Tarantula, The Labyrinth, 1,000,000 Comix, Silver Snail, or 3rd Quadrant. In the west end, you can hit Excalibur Comics, Red Nails, or Pendragon; in the east end there’s Comics and More, and Atomic Age Books; in the north there’s Cyber City, and Red Nails II. And if that list of options isn’t enough, there’s always the store locator on the Free Comic Book Day website.
Torontoist, however, personally recommends The Beguiling, both because they are an awesome comic book store, but also because they understand that comics should be for kids along with the older readers who have been reading them all along. In this spirit, the Beguiling has organized a “Free Comics For Kids Day” at the Palmerston Library (560 Palmerston Avenue), giving away free comics and copies of Owl magazine for kids, and with appearances by kids’ comics artists like Jeremy Tankard and Michael Cho. If you don’t have kids who dig Owl, you can just hit the Beguiling itself.
Step 2. Get free comics. This year’s selection of free comics is really fantastic. DC Comics offers a reprint of the first issue of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s All Star Superman, widely regarded as the best Superman story in decades. Marvel Comics, not to be outdone, offers a brand new X-Men comic. Dark Horse offers up a Hellboy anthology, there’s free Archie and free The Simpsons comics, the Transformers, Gyro Gearloose, Gumby, and many, many more. There is a free comic for every taste: if you want cute owls frolicking in all-ages-suitable tales, there is Andy Runton’s Owly and Friends; if you want evil people being stabbed in the eyeball, there is an EC Comics Sampler.
Step 3. Read free comics. We assume that since you’re reading this, you can handle this part yourself.
But, really, we know we had you the moment we said “free comics,” or indeed “free.” So this Saturday, get out of the house and hie thyself to your local comical book store!