On May 7th, comic shops around the country held Free Comic Book Day events. Here’s what I picked up this year.
Free Comic Book Day started in 2002, so it’s the 20th year of this event. I went to Zombie Unicorn Comics in Chicago. This was my first time ever going to Zombie Unicorn Comics. It’s a weird store name but I’ve been meaning to check them out for awhile now. The store and the guys working there were actually really cool. It’s a smaller store but they pack it with lots of merchandise. The books there seemed to be in really good shape, which I liked. They had a lot of toys, action figures and collectables too.
The shop opened at 10am. None of the Free Comic Book Day issues super interested me but I did want to at least pick up a few. I mainly wanted to get a few of the Marvel issues and The Bone Orchard Mythos Prelude by Jeff Lemire, who is one of my favorite comic writers. I was debating even heading out or not that day but Zombie Unicorn’s sales got me to go. That’s how they get you. On “free” comic book day I ended up spending way more money than I expected to just a few days prior. I ended up being there over two hours with what was supposed to be a quick trip. I got to the store at around 10:30. It was pretty packed. There were people were walking around with huge stacks of comics. A lot of people were digging through the issues pretty good too.
I originally intended to only get some current back issues I was missing to fill in my pull list, like for Action Comics by Philip Kennedy Johnson that I had trouble finding at other stores or online for close to cover price. I haven’t started reading it yet but I picked up issue #1039 a bit ago with the intent I was adding the series. I recently decided to start reading Hulk by Donny Cates so I needed to fill in some issues there. I love the Alex Ross covers for the current Iron Man run too, which is what got me to subscribe to the series. Zombie Unicorn had a great sale where the back issues were buy one, get one free. Wall comics were 10 percent off, which I assumed meant like all the newer issues that just came out recently. I ended up getting all of these new comics for buy one, get one, even issues that came out within the last month or two. I rarely see that type of deal, so it was worth it.
My original plan went out the window pretty fast once I saw the huge amount of dollar comics they had on sale. Zombie Unicorn had them on sale at two issues for one dollar. I was kind of looking for older Punisher issues from the late ’80s and early ’90s to add more to my collection but didn’t have any particular interest beyond that. I swore off buying old issues because you just get stuck with a bunch of comics and random issues that have no connections to each other. They don’t have a lot of resale value either. I stopped buying comics just for the sake of collecting comics. My rule is now that I stick to current issues on my pull list. If I do get older issues, they have to be for pretty cheap and have some order to them. I can get at least some issues in a row for a storyline or author/artist run that way. I couldn’t resist the 2 for $1 boxes though. They had maybe around 10 long boxes set up on tables outside the back of the store. The weather was nice so it was fun looking through all these comics. I could have ended up buying a ton more but I had to stop myself.
I don’t think I got any key issues or anything. All the books I bought were in really good condition too, so I was happy with that. I stopped buying old books that are messed up or the pages are in subpar condition. Even for the old ’90s books, the pages on the books I bought were all in great shape. For basically 50 cents each I got a really good stack of books totaling 100 issues. I picked up a lot of Spider-Man books, which they had a lot for sale.
I got four issues based solely on their covers, which were also buy one, get one free in the $5 section. Peter Parker: Spider-Man #13 done by Lee Works features a sweet cover of Carnage that I had to pick up. The cover to Wolverine #59 by Darick Robertson is classic too.
I actually started realizing that I really like the ’90s art style. A lot of that probably has to do with nostalgia because I did read Spider-Man comics as a kid back then and still even have some of them. I know that decade of comics is looked down a lot but they just look really cool. John Byrne on Spider-Man: Chapter One and Wonder Woman (#110 and #114) look so awesome. I love his art style. The cover and inside art for X-Men Unlimited #5 by Liam Sharp is sick. I don’t know anything about the series and can’t identify most of the characters but it really stood out to me. The Mighty Thor #489 cover by M.C. Wyman just feels like the ’90s. I really like the cosmic cover art on Fantastic Four #413 by Paul Ryan. Getting more John Romita Jr. on some of the Peter Parker: Spider-Man issues was great. The cover art by Frank Teran on Spider-Man: Unlimited #13 is one of my favorites from all the issues I bought because of how gritty it is. The covers for Spider-Man: Unlimited #18 and #19 by Joe Bennett are really awesome. I also loved the cover art on issues #5-6 of Webspinners: Tales of Spider-Man by Keith Giffen and Rurik Tyler on #15-16 of Webspinners: Tales of Spider-Man. Even the Avengers books I got with Rob Liefeld covers are fun and endearing, which definitely look dated to that decade. The advertisements for video games from that era or for food like Chef Boyardee just brings up a lot of nostalgia. I might start collecting more ’90s books now. A lot of these writers and artists I’m not that familiar with, so it’s cool discovering their works from that time period.
With the Spider-Man books I picked up, I can actually now go fill in and complete those series. Peter Parker: Spider-Man (57 issues), Spider-Man: Unlimited (22 issues), Webspinners: Tales of Spider-Man (18 issues) and Spider-Man: Chapter One (13 issues) are shorter runs from the mid to late ’90s. I already had a small amount of books from Webspinners and Chapter One. I mistakenly got a few duplicates for Spider-Man: Chapter One and Webspinners. Issue #2 that I bought for Webspinners is actually a variant cover, because I already have the standard cover that features Mysterio. I think #2 of Peter Parker: Spider-Man is also a variant cover since the one I got doesn’t look like this.
I randomly decided to start reading Catwoman about a week prior to Free Comic Book Day. I added the ongoing run to my pull list. They just happened to have a bunch of old issues from the ’90s in the dollar boxes. I think I bought most of them there. I got 22 issues from the series that had a lot of great cover art.
I also got a sweet George Perez book with Wonder Woman #34 from 1989. I have been meaning to check out his work since his unfortunate passing recently, The random cover on Spider-Man Unlimited #14 that features J. Jonah Jameson imitating Michael Buffer is pretty funny. It’s also cool seeing current writers on older things they worked on, like Kyle Higgins on Avengers Origins: Vision. Higgins is currently on Radiant Black but he did a lot on the recent Power Rangers series. The art for Webspinners: Tales of Spider-Man #10 (amazing cover) and #11 were done by Sean Phillips, who later went on to team up on some pretty awesome work with Ed Brubaker. I also discovered events I never heard of before, like DC One Million from 1998. The covers for these issues are really cool. I also got some more modern issues too. Zombie Unicorn actually had a lot for sale in the dollar boxes across Marvel and DC from the past few years and a lot of duplicates on certain books.
I bagged and boarded all the old comics I bought with new bags and boards. I do this with every issue I buy. Some of the bags were pretty filthy and it wouldn’t surprise me if they were still from the ’90s. I had to actually wash my hands afterwards. I was able to almost fill an entire short box with these old issues. Will I ever read all these comics? Knowing myself, probably not. Are they still cool to have in the collection? Oh yeah. I will try to do better and actually read more of the comics I buy though.
In total I spent $90.05 for 116 books, which I swear I won’t do again (until the next time). Here’s my haul:
Free Comic Book Day 2022 Issues:
- Best of 2000AD Issue #0 (Rebellion Publishing)
- The Best Archie Comic Ever #0
- The Bone Orchard Mythos Prelude (Image Comics)
- 25 Years of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Boom! Studios)
- Clementine #1 (Image Comics)
- Dark Crisis #0 (DC Comics)
- Marvel Voices #1 (Marvel Comics)
- Red Sonja Marvel Feature Stories (Dynamite Entertainment)
- Spider-Man/Venom #1
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (IDW Publishing)
- Tex: In the Land of Seminoles (Epicenter Comics)
- The Three Stooges FCBD Celebration #1 (American Mythology)
Newer issues (buy one, get one free):
- Action Comics #1036-1038
- Iron Man #9-11, #16 (series by Christopher Cantwell)
- Hulk #5-6 (Donny Cates)
- Radiant Black #14
- Spawn #328
- X-Men #2 (August 2021, Gerry Duggan)
Back issues at $5 each-buy one, get one free:
- Wolverine (Volume 2) #59
- Spider-Man Team-Up #6 (March 97 cover)
- Peter Parker: Spider-Man #9
- Peter Parker: Spider-Man #13
2 for $1 dollar comics (bought 100 issues):
- Peter Parker: Spider-Man #2, #7-8, #14-15, #17-24, #27, #78
- Webspinners: Tales of Spider-Man ##2, #5-7, #10-12, #14-17
- Spider-Man: Chapter One #6-12
- Spider-Man: Unlimited #10, #13-14, #18-19, #21-22
- The Mighty Thor #489
- Fantastic Four #413
- Avengers (Volume 2, 1996) #5 (cover of Hulk fighting Thor by Rob Liefeld), #6-12
- X-Men Unlimited #5, #9
- X-Men Firsts #1 (February 1996, reprints debuts of Wolverine, Rogue, Sinister and Gambit)
- Avengers Origins: Vision (2011 one shot by Kyle Higgins)
- Old Man Logan Annual #1 (2018)
- Dark Reign: The List-Wolverine (one shot, 2009, Jason Aaron)
- Cable (Volume 4, 2020 by Gerry Duggan) #7-8, #10
- Catwoman (Volume 2, 1993 series) #30, #34-35, #42-43, #47, #61-62, #64, #68-73, #75-81
- Catwoman #1,000,000 (1998, part of DC One Million event)
- Robin: Annual #2 (Chuck Dixon, 1993)
- Wonder Woman (Volume 2) #34, #100, #110, #114
- Flash (Volume 2) #158 (2000, Mark Waid)
- DC Retroactive: The Flash-The ’80s #1 (2011)
- Superman in Action Comics #696
- Dark Nights: Death Metal Trinity Crisis #1
- Dark Nights: Death Metal Speed Metal #1
- Dark Nights: Death Metal Rise of the New Gods #1
- Wonder Woman: Black and Gold #1 (Cover C Variant by Yanick Paquette)
- Generations Forged #1 (one shot, February 2021)
Check out pictures of some of the comics: