There are a lot of really fine events happening this week, but there's no question what the Literary Event of the Week is: This Saturday is Free Comic Book Day, the day when just about every comic shop in the region offers up free comics to anyone who walks in.
This year's FCBD is a bittersweet one: it's Seattle's very first Free Comic Book Day without long-running downtown store Zanadu Comics, which recently closed its doors. Zanadu fell prey to some very Seattle problems - rising rent - and some of the same problem that comics shops around the country are suffering from.
Comics aren't a niche medium anymore, but the industry still behaves like it's an embarrassing hobby: there's only one nationwide comics distributor, and the two big publishers aren't drawing in audience the way they used to. It remains to be seen if Marvel Comics can recover from a recent sales slump - funny how those movie audiences aren't walking into comics shops, isn't it? - and it remains to be seen if the growing graphic novel sections in independent bookshops will carve away too much business from comics-only shops.
But enough doom and gloom! Seattle still has a remarkable array of comics shops, and many of them are hosting special events for FCBD. Outsider Comics & Geek Boutique in Fremont is hosting a ton of local cartoonists all day long, including Colleen Frakes and Tatiana Gill. Arcane Comics in Shoreline is hosting cartoonists Lisa Pelayre and Marty Gordon, along with a bunch of fun all-ages activities from Parenting Geekly and a huge sale. The Fantagraphics Bookstore in Georgetown is hosting Seattle cartooning goddess Ellen Forney, who'll be signing her new book Rock Steady.
For more information about the closest store to you, visit https://freecomicbookday.com/. And while you should definitely pick up some free comics, if you're not currently strapped for cash or if you regularly attend comics shops, you should buy a book or two while you're visiting to subsidize all the books the shops are giving away to new customers. Comics have probably given you a lot of joy in your life; it only makes sense to pay some of that forward.