As the first weekend in May, this Saturday brings an annual tradition: Free Comic Book Day. Anyone who goes into a comic store on May 6 will be faced with a plethora of complimentary comics. There are dozens in all — previews of upcoming series, samplers of ongoing books, and self-contained short stories galore.
They’re all worth checking out, but here’s a short list of can’t-miss specials for this year’s Free Comic Book Day.
Buffy: The High School Years (Dark Horse)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer has found a fruitful second life in comics over the last decade, but most of it takes place after the end of the original series. This fun one-shot story takes place firmly in the Slayer’s high school years – and at a comic shop, no less! This delightful little story (involving Buffy encountering both a dangerous vampire and a new young fan) should delight fans of the franchise.
Catalyst Prime: The Event (Lion Forge)
With its new Catalyst Prime imprint, Lion Forge is introducing a roster of superheroes diverse enough to reflect the real world we live in, rather than the archaic ‘60s landscape that produced most Marvel and DC characters. Books like Noble have already started rolling out, but curious readers should check out this one-shot to see how it all begins.
DC Super Hero Girls (DC)
Though the upcoming Wonder Woman movie will be the first DC film to star a female superhero, the DC Universe is actually teeming with strong, diverse, vibrant superheroines. This all-ages story is a great entry in the DC Super Hero Girls line, which features younger versions of Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Supergirl, Bumblebee, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, and Katana fighting for truth, justice, and friendship.
I Hate Image (Image)
In the pages of Skottie Young’s I Hate Fairyland, his enraged little protagonist Gertrude works out her rage by violently massacring cute and colorful fairy creatures. Here, though, she goes on a rampage against every other Image Comics character, from Saga to Spawn. It’s a fun little treat Image fans shouldn’t miss.
Rick & Morty (Oni)
While they eagerly wait for the rest of season 3 to land, Rick & Morty fans can get a quick fix with this comic containing two stories: One from Zac Gorman and CJ Cannon’s flagship Rick and Morty comic, and a sampler from Tini Howard and Marc Ellerby’s Rick and Morty: Pocket Like You Stole It.
X-O Manowar Special (Valiant)
Valiant’s new X-O Manowar series, in which the flagship superhero embarks on an epic science fiction quest on a vibrant alien planet, is one of the most promising comics on the market right now. Matt Kindt’s smart plotting and character development is matched by Tomas Giorello’s gorgeous world-building. Check out a preview of the series in this one-shot, alongside glimpses at other Valiant books like Jeff Lemire’s Bloodshot: Salvation.