Hey Kids! It’s Free Comic Book Day – May 4!

Mouse Guard Free Comic Book Day

Mouse Guard is one of the comics you can get free at participating comic book stores. Image courtesy Archaia.

Fresh off the superhero-infested Fan Expo Vancouver, the city’s comic book stores are gearing up for the annual Free Comic Book Day. This is sort of like Record Store Day in that FCBD is an initiative to get folks to visit their friendly neighbourhood brick-and-mortar (comic book) store. But it’s also about bringing in new readers, not just the usual Batman fans.

It’s also different from Record Store Day in another important way – you get to walk away with FREE STUFF!

All the major – and some of the minor – comic book publishers will participate by printing thousands of copies of specially made titles and shipping them out to stores all over North America for giveaways. Free Comic Book Day is especially oriented towards families, with lots of the books aimed at younger readers, but you can count on all those Comic Book Guy types out there to be showing up early to cherry-pick some of the cooler titles.

But rather than look at some of the comics that are going to be up for grabs – you can see a full list here – we thought we’d give you a brief rundown on some of Vancouver’s best, or at least most accessible, comic book stores (i.e. the ones we visit when we need a fix of Avengers Vs. X-Men).

RX Comics (2418 Main St) – This blogger’s personal favourite, RX is located minutes from downtown and on a bustling block of Main Street (stop by Pulpfiction Books and Dandelion Records for more shopping, visit Our Town or Gene for a coffee). RX stocks all the latest comics as well as back issues. If you’re not a comic book fan but like a graphic novel now and again, RX also carries a wide range of those items. The store also has a great selection of toys – lots of action figures – and collector’s items (i.e. expensive stuff). Staff is friendly and eager to help. (604) 454-5099

The Comic Shop (3518 W 4th Ave) – Way out on the West Side, closer to UBC than to Granville Street, The Comic Shop stands like a mighty sentinel of the spaceways. Oh wait, that’s the Silver Surfer. Actually The Comic Shop is mighty – it’s big enough to make browsing fun, and it’s organized well enough that you can easily find that Wonder Woman issue you’ve been looking for. It’s a bit of a trek, but if you’re looking for a varied selection of comics, graphic novels, books and toys – there was even a gaming room last we looked – this is a good place to start. (604-738-8122)

Lucky’s Comics (3972 Main St.) – More of a boutique store for comics enthusiasts than an all-purpose comics emporium, Lucky’s on South Main is more selective in its stock of books and graphic novels. In other words, this isn’t the place you come if you need your weekly dose of Spider-Man, but if you’re looking for a great gift idea (like an Edward Gorey jigsaw puzzle, hint hint) in an easy-to-browse environment, Lucky’s is the comic store for you. (604 875 9858)

Golden Age Collectables (852 Granville St.) – The easiest to reach (if you’re downtown) and in some ways the most accessible for the casual reader, Golden Age Collectables does indeed hark back to a golden age – not necessarily of comics, but of Granville Street itself. Golden Age is a holdover from when the street was a cultural hub lined with movie theatres and stores like the Granville Book Company. (Now Granville is more of a Jagermeister hub, but that’s another story.) Golden Age has toys, new comics, tons of graphic novels and lots of collector’s items. The only question is, how long can it hang out in its current location? (604-683-2819)

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