Ordinarily, I use this space to write about the comics that I've read over the past week. But this Saturday is Free Comic Book Day — that nationwide celebration of the belief that there's a comic out there for everyone — and so we're going to look forward for a change. If you've never participated before, you should know that it's pretty simple: walk into the store, get some comics for free. If you have questions, ask the staff.
Where should you go? Well, there's a map of all the participating shops here. But a lot of local stores are throwing special events, too. A partial list:
Comics Dungeon in Wallingford will be hosting local cartoonists all day. I spoke with the Dungeon's owner Scott Tomlin about his plans — and the exciting new literacy nonprofit behind his shop — earlier this week.
From 11 am to 3 pm, Phoenix Comics and Games on Broadway will host Seattle comics writer G. Willow Wilson — who was recently the subject of a terrific New Yorker profile and the driving force behind a very good conversation about faith on the Ezra Klein Show — along with cartoonist Kazu Kibuishi and author/translator Zack Davisson.
Downtown's Zanadu Comics is throwing a big sale and handing out special coupons all day long. If you regularly buy comics in Seattle, you should stop by Zanadu and buy a comic or two; the store has recently fallen on tough financial times and they've been running a GoFundMe to stay afloat. They've still got some of the best selection in town, and they could use a little love.
Arcane Comics, which last year moved just across the Seattle border to Shoreline, is hosting local cartoonists Jen Vaughn, Chris Sheridan, and Tatiana Gill.
There are plenty of other shops, too, including Fremont's Outsider Comics & Geek Boutique, the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery in Georgetown, Dreamstrands Comics & Collectibles in Greenwood, Golden Age Collectibles in the Pike Place Market (which I just now learned from their website claims to be America's oldest comics shop,) and The Dreaming Comics & Games in the U District.
And what should you pick up? Well, you can find a full list of the Free Comic Book Day books here, and there's something for most everyone's taste. But here are a couple to look out for:
Obviously, you should read the Fantagraphics collection World's Greatest Cartoonists, which features a bunch of artists from the Fantagraphics stable including Emil Ferris, Noah Van Sciver, and Simon Hanselmann.
If you're unfamiliar with the weird and wonderful collaborations between French cartoonist Moebius and the great director Alejandro Jodorowsky, this sampler of their comic The Incal should definitely be on your list.
The Colorful Monsters collection has just about everything a kid could want, including some Moomin comics, monsters, and hot air balloons.
Cartoonist Kate Beaton loves the all-ages comic Bad Machinery, and this sampler is a good introduction to the series, about some young crime-solvers. In this caper, they encounter Communists and a very anachronistic person.
Have fun out there! Stay hydrated, get some free comics, maybe buy a comic or two, and follow along with us on Instagram as we travel around to some of our favorite shops.