Free Comic Book Day falls on the first Saturday of May every year, meaning that in 2009 it will fall on May 2. Free Comic Book Day is a Hallmark type holiday, meaning that it was invented to inspire interest in reading comic books. The comic book-industrial complex saw the opportunity to spark interest in comic books which was waning around 2002 when it was first celebrated. (The emergence of a new genre of film, the comic book superhero movie has done much to rectify that situation.) The primary company that was the thrust behind giving each person who walked into certain comic book stores one free comic was Diamond Comic Distributors.
Free Comic Book Day means that you can get one free comic book on that day, but there are rules. For one thing, don’t be thinking you can waltz into Wal-Mart or the 7-Eleven and walk out with the current issue of Batman, Spider-Man or Sex-Crazed Robotoids Meet Frankenstein. To get your free comic book on the first Saturday in May means that you must visit one of the thousands of locally-owned independent comic book stores. In other words, if there is a guy sitting at the counter who doesn’t know the difference between Superman and a superhero who is actually deserving of being read, you probably cannot take advantage of all the fun that Free Comic Book Day has to offer. On the other hand, if the man sitting behind the counter is rather rude, sarcastic, slightly weird and looks like Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons, chances are you will be walking out of the store with a free comic book in your hand.
There is another rule to Free Comic Book Day that must be observed as well. The free comic book that is distributed is not just anything in the store. Yeah, sure, we all wish we could walk into two or three comic books around town and come home with some copies of those messed up Batman comic books from around the time the Dark Knight was released that have the legible dirty words in them. Man, that would be sweet to just grab a legendary comic and used Free Comic Book Day to make a mint on eBay, but this is the comic book industry, after all, and Comic Book Guy on The Simpsons was not created as a jerk by accident; he is the very epitome of all real owners of comic book stores.
No, Free Comic Book Day means that your free comic book will be a special comic book to be distributed for free on that day for the purpose of celebration. But don’t get too upset, because some of these special comic books are pretty cool, featuring Spiderman, Transformers and even the Lone Ranger. Over twelve million comic books have been given away for free on Free Comic Book day so far. Mark your calendars.