Comic convention in Seattle, Washington, USA
Free Comic Book Day is an annual promotional effort by the North American comic book industry to help bring new readers into independent comic book stores. Brainstormed by retailer Joe Field of Flying Colors Comics in Concord CA in his "Big Picture" column in the August 2001 issue of Comics & Games Retailer magazine, it was started in 2002 and is coordinated by the industry's single large distributor, Diamond Comic Distributors. The next event will be on May 1, 2010.
Free Comic Book Day is scheduled on the first Saturday of May. It has often been tied to the release of a major theatrical film adaptation of a well known superhero property (for example, 2009's FCBD was the day after the release of X-Men Origins: Wolverine), in order to take advantage of the film's heavy promotion and related press about the comic book medium. On Free Comic Book Day, participating comic book store retailers give away specially printed copies of free comic books, and some offer cheaper back issues and other items to anyone who visits their establishments. Retailers do not receive the issues for free; they pay 12-50 cents per copy for the comics they will give away for free.
Comic books began in the 1930s as a unique American art form that has grown - like so many American forms of entertainment - to spread around the globe. From Japanese businessmen reading manga on the subways of Tokyo to French artists re-interpreting Proust with words and pictures, comics have changed entertainment and challenged perceptions. These days, there are comic books for every taste, from slam-bang super-hero adventures and thoughtful slice-of-life to thrilling science fiction and intense drama.
If it's been a while since you've read a comic book, prepare to be pleasantly surprised by the breadth of variety available!