The Best Free Comics of This Year’s Free Comic Book Day

The Best Free Comics of This Year’s Free Comic Book Day
Image: Marvel/Skybound/Titan/Viz/IDW/DC

Sure, you could run to your local comic book store this Saturday, May 7, aka Free Comic Book Day, and grab whatever issues catch your eye in a whirlwind of kleptomania until you run out the door whooping like a loon. Or you could read Gizmodo’s guide to the best of this year’s FCBD offerings and enter that comic shop with a cold and calculating stare, picking out your favourites with laser-like precision, and then spend the rest of Saturday reading great comics for which you didn’t have to spend a dime. It’s your choice; all I’m saying is that our guide is right here. Your call.

Avatar: The Last Airbender/The Legend of Korra

Image: Dark Horse ComicsImage: Dark Horse Comics

“Both your favourite avatars return in two all-new stories from Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra! Dive into the fun for Free Comic Book Day, and expect excitement, familiar faces, and a hefty helping of shenanigans!”

By writer and artist Meredith McClaren, artist and cover artist Kicking Shoes

Avengers/X-Men #1

Image: MarvelImage: Marvel

“Featuring stories by an all-star lineup of creators including writers Kieron Gillen and Gerry Duggan and artist Dustin Weaver, Free Comic Book Day: Avengers/X-Men #1 will lay the groundwork for an event that will erupt across the Marvel Universe in 2022 and drastically alter the relationship between Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and mutantkind.”

By writers Kieron Gillen, Gerry Duggan, Danny Lore; artists Dustin Weaver, Matteo Lolli, Karen Darboe; cover artist Valerio Schiti

Barbaric #1

Image: Vault ComicsImage: Vault Comics

“Owen the Barbarian has been cursed to do good with what remains of his life. His bloodthirsty weapon, Axe, has become his moral compass with a drinking problem. Together they wander the realm, foredoomed to help any who seek assistance. But there is one thing Owen hates more than a life with rules: Witches. Welcome to the skull-cracking, blood-splattering, mayhem-loving comic brave enough to ask: How can a man sworn to do good do so much violence? Hah! Messing with you. It’s just… Barbaric.”

Best Archie Comic Ever #0

Image: Archie ComicsImage: Archie Comics

“A new dawn of Archie is upon us! Archie Andrews has forever been known as an everyman. He’s your average teenager, and that’s what makes him so well-liked. But it doesn’t take a super-scientist, super-hero, or super-spy to see that Archie is anything but average! Welcome to the weird, wonderful world of Archie, where anything and everything can happen to a red-headed, freckle-faced teen in a sleepy little town. This title serves as a special sneak peek at what’s to come from Archie Comics’ new series of anthology titles as well as some best-of moments from recently released titles. Get in on the ground floor of a new era of Archie with this special issue zero title.”

By writer Fred Van Lente, artist Tim Seeley, cover artist Jamal Igle

Bloodborne #1

Image: Titan ComicsImage: Titan Comics

“Exclusive lead-in to an epic new series, launching May 2022! Enter the city of Yharnam through the eyes of its citizens, when new hunters take to the streets to fight against the cruel and unusual epidemic that has gripped the city. In the black of night, families and faith will be tested… Based on the critically-acclaimed Bloodborne video game!”

By writer Cullen Bunn and artist Piotr Kowalski

The Bone Orchid: Mythos Prelude

Image: Image ComicsImage: Image Comics

“A troubled writer books a secluded cabin on a serene lake in an attempt to get away from his struggling marriage and his impending deadlines. But what he can’t know when he arrives is that he is already in the cabin. In fact, he may have always been there. Face-to-face with his own demons, the writer discovers the first terrifying pieces of the Bone Orchard Mythos, a sprawling new horror interconnected universe from the Eisner Award-winning team behind Gideon Falls and Primordial, Andrea Sorrentino and Jeff Lemire!”

By writer Jeff Lemire and artist/cover artist Andrea Sorrentino

Clementine #1

Image: Skybound Comics/Image: Skybound Comics/

“The next big thing from Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead is here! Get the complete first chapter of Clementine Book One, by award-winning author Tillie Walden (On A Sunbeam, Spinning)! Plus, an extended look at Everyday Hero Machine Boy (by Irma Kniivila and Tri Vuong) and Sea Serpent’s Heir (by Mairghread Scott and Pablo Tunica), the next can’t-miss OGNs from Skybound Comet, our all-new imprint for Young Adult and Middle-Grade readers!”

By writers Tillie Walden, Irma Kniivila, Tri Vuong, Mairghread Scott; artists Irma Kniivila, Tri Vuong, Pablo Tunica; artist and cover artist Tillie Walden

Dark Crisis #0 FCBD Special Edition

Image: DC ComicsImage: DC Comics

Dark Crisis from Joshua Williamson (The Flash) and Daniel Sampere (Injustice) has been in the making for 30 years and officially kicks off on FCBD with Dark Crisis #0 FCBD Special Edition. The Justice League is comics’ greatest super-team — made up of DC Comics’ legendary Super Heroes, they have saved the world countless times. No crisis was too much for them to handle…until now! The Justice League has been defeated by the Great Darkness and its army of DC’s most dangerous enemies — now a new generation of Super Heroes must rise to protect not only the Multiverse…but also the legacy of the DCU! Includes a preview and art from Dark Crisis #1 coming in June!”

By writer Joshua Williamson, artists Jim Cheung and Daniel Sampere

Dav Pilkey Sampler, Featuring Dog Man

Image: Scholastic BooksImage: Scholastic Books

“Laugh out loud with this supa fun Dav Pilkey sampler! This Free Comic Book Day exclusive includes fan-favourite moments from the worldwide bestselling Dog Man, Cat Kid Comic Club, and Captain Underpants series.”

By Dav Pilkey

Doctor Who #1

Image: Titan ComicsImage: Titan Comics

“Exclusive lead-in to an epic new Doctor Who story arc, launching May 2022! An epic adventure with the travelling Time Lord, this issue serves as a lead-in to the explosive new story arc that reveals the very early years of the Doctor. Past, present, and future all collide in a Doctor Who tale that’s out of this universe!”

By writer Jody Houser and artist Roberta Ingranata

Galaxy FCBD Special Edition

Image: DC ComicsImage: DC Comics

“Every day in Taylor Barzelay’s life might seem perfect — but every day is torture. Taylor is actually the Galaxy Crowned, an alien princess from the planet Cyandii, and one of the few survivors of an intergalactic war. For six long, painful years, Taylor has accepted her duty to remain in hiding as a boy on Earth. But that all changes when Taylor meets Metropolis girl Katherine “call me Kat” Silverberg, whose confidence is electrifying. Suddenly, Taylor no longer wants to hide, even if exposing her true identity could attract her greatest enemies. Written by Jadzia Axelrod (Wonderful Women of the World) with art by Jess Taylor (Of Her Own Design), this Free Comic Book Day special edition features an excerpt from the upcoming original graphic novel Galaxy: The Prettiest Star.”

By writer Jadzia Axelrod and artist Jess Taylor

The Guardian of Fukushima

Image: TokyopopImage: Tokyopop

“March 11th, 2011: a massive earthquake off the coast of Japan triggered a devastating tsunami which, in turn, destroyed the three core reactors of the Fukushima nuclear power plant. This tragedy cost almost 20,000 lives and devastated countless more, including Naoto Matsumura, a farmer ordered to evacuate from the deadly radiation zone. Unwilling to abandon his beloved animals, Matsumura chose to return home to his farm, and to fight for the beauty of life. This powerful graphic novel from France intertwines Matsumura’s story of human resilience and compassion with the compelling mythology of Japanese folk tales.”

Hollow #1

Image: Boom EntertainmentImage: Boom Entertainment

“It’s Sleepy Hollow meets queer romance from the co-creator of Lumberjanes! Izzy Crane is new to Sleepy Hollow, and already sick of the town’s hokey obsession with Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. She has no time for superstition with a new school, a new home, and a new crush on Vicky Van Tassel, a.k.a. the town’s teen royalty, descended from one of the families featured in the famous old story. When it turns out that the Headless Horseman might be more than just a story though, it’s up to Izzy, Vicky, and class clown Oscar to uncover a sinister, centuries-old plot… and they’ve only got ‘til Halloween to put a stop to it!”

By writers Shannon Watters, Branden Boyer-White; artist Berenice Nelle; cover artist Naomi Franquiz

Incal Universe

Image: HumanoidsImage: Humanoids

“Jodorowsky and Moebius’s The Incal was a shot across the bow of graphic storytelling, an epic explosion of staggering art, mind-blowing worldbuilding, and ambitious plotting that combined to make one of the most influential comics of all time. Now, 42 years after its initial publication — and with a major movie adaptation in the works from filmmaker Taika Waititi — the Incal-verse expands with three extraordinary new series: Kill Wolfhead, by Brandon Peterson and Pete Woods; Dying Star, by Dan Waters and Jon Davis-Hunt; and Psychoverse, by Mark Russell and Yanick Paquette. Get your first look here!”

By writers Brandon Thomas, Dan Waters, Mark Russell; artists/cover artists Pete Woods, Jon Davis-Hunt, Yanick Paquette

Kaiju No. 8 & Sakamoto Days

Image: Viz MediaImage: Viz Media

“Kaiju No. 8: Kafka wants to clean up kaiju, but not literally! Will a sudden metamorphosis stand in the way of his dream? With the highest kaiju emergence rates in the world, Japan is no stranger to attacks by deadly monsters. Enter the Japan Defence Force, a military organisation tasked with the neutralization of kaiju. Kafka Hibino, a kaiju-corpse cleanup man, has always dreamed of joining the force. But when he gets another shot at achieving his childhood dream, he undergoes an unexpected transformation. How can he fight kaiju now that he’s become one himself?!

“Sakamoto Days: Kill some time with former hitman Taro Sakamoto!

Taro Sakamoto was once a legendary hitman considered the greatest of all time. Bad guys feared him! Assassins revered him! But then one day he quit, got married, and had a baby. He’s now living the quiet life as the owner of a neighbourhood store, but how long can Sakamoto enjoy his days of retirement before his past catches up to him?!”

By writers Naoya Matsumoto, Yuto Suzuki; artists Naoya Matsumoto, Yuto Suzuki

Marvel’s Voices #1

Image: MarvelImage: Marvel

“In addition to a brand-new story starring Moon Girl by writer Nadia Shammas and artist Luciano Vecchio, Free Comic Book Day: Marvel’s Voices #1 will reprint the following stories from past Marvel’s Voices one-shots:

  • Writer [and former Gizmodo-er!] Evan Narcisse and artist Jahnoy Lindsay’s tale showcasing the heroic journey of Brother Voodoo from Marvel’s Voices (2020) #1
  • Acclaimed artist Jeffrey Veregge’s showcase of Marvel’s greatest indigenous heroes from Marvel’s Indiginous Voices (2020) #1
  • Oscar-winning writer John Ridley and artist Olivier Coipel’s action-packed Miles Morales adventure from Marvel’s Voices: Legacy (2021) #1
  • Writer Alyssa Wong and superstar artist Whilce Portacio’s Wave and Bishop team-up story from Marvel’s Voices: Identity (2021) #1
  • Artist Luciano Vecchio’s rousing exploration of the history of LGBTQ+ representation in Marvel Comics from Marvel’s Voices: Pride (2021) #1
  • Writer/artist Leo Romero’s celebration of Brazilian culture with the X-Men’s Shark-Girl from Marvel’s Voices: Comunidades (2021) #1 by Leo Romero”

Primos #1

Image: AWAImage: AWA

“The ultimate Latinx heroes for the 21st Century are here! Centuries ago, two Mayan brothers constructed a spacecraft that sent them hurtling into outer space. Returned to Earth only to find their culture and civilisation destroyed, one of the brothers vows revenge and seeks to decimate the planet with intergalactic technology gathered on his travels. To prevent this, his sibling creates a contingency plan that activates the world’s protectors — three descendants of their own family who have been granted great power. Now, the fate of the universe lies in the hands of three cousins scattered throughout Central and North America who have never even met.”

By writer Al Madrigal; artists Carlo Barberi, Brian Reber; cover artist Dave Johnson

Spider-Man/Venom #1

Image: MarvelImage: Marvel

“Announced last week, Spider-Man is gearing up for a brand-new era just in time for the character’s 60th anniversary! Fans who pick up Free Comic Book Day: Spider-Man/Venom #1 will see the very beginning of the major storylines writer Zeb Wells and legendary artist John Romita Jr. have planned for their run on Amazing Spider-Man, including Tombstone’s first steps towards becoming Spidey’s most terrifying villain. Free Comic Book Day: Spider-Man/Venom #1 will also give fans a chance to check out the thought-provoking work Al Ewing, Ram V., and Bryan Hitch are doing on Venom! The groundbreaking changes this mastermind trio has in store for the symbiote mythos start here!”

By writers Al Ewing, Ram V., Zeb Wells; artist Bryan Hitch; artist and cover artist John Romita

Stranger Things/Resident Alien

Image: Dark Horse ComicsImage: Dark Horse Comics

“Celebrating the weird and wonderful, we present stories both strange and alien! In Stranger Things, Eleven, Will, and Jonathan go to a drive-in theatre for a double creature feature, but the local festivities and scary costumes bring back haunting memories. In Resident Alien, Dr. Harry and nurse Asta help an elderly patient in the sleepy, small town of Patience investigate a ghostly presence in her house!”

By writers Michael Moreci, Peter Hogan; artists Pius Bak, Steve Parkhouse; cover artist Diego Galindo

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Image: IDWImage: IDW

“The Ninja Turtles have broken out of the locked-down neighbourhood of Manhattan known as Mutant Town… but which Ninja Turtles? And is that… Venus (!)… spying on them?! As all new mutants haunt and terrorize NYC, enemies and allies of the TMNT alike prepare for a confrontation greater than any that has come before… the Rat King’s diabolical Armageddon Game! The TMNT event of 2022 starts here from Tom Waltz, Sophie Campbell, Ronda Pattison, and Kevin Eastman!”

By writer Tom Waltz; artist/cover artist Sophie Campbell

Trese

Image: AblazeImage: Ablaze

“The award-winning Filipino comic, now a hit Netflix anime series! Foul play. Magic spells. Supernatural criminals. When the case takes a turn for the weird, the police call Alexandra Trese. The Trese 2022 FCBD comic features a preview of the forthcoming Trese Volume 4: Last Seen After Midnight, along with bonus material on the comic, including some of Alexandra’s journal entries chronicling her creature encounters and more. It also includes a sneak peek at The Art of Trese Anime, featuring art, sketches, photos, interviews, and more on the making of the hit Netflix anime series.”

By writer Budjette Tan; artist/cover artist Kajo Baldisimo

Wandance & Blackguard Sampler

Image: KodanshaImage: Kodansha

“Exclusive previews of two new Kodansha manga. With thrilling scenes of Japanese hip-hop dance and quirky, charming characters, Wandance is a new, inspirational coming-of-age manga for fans of Blue Period and Your Lie in April. Blackguard is a dark, post-apocalyptic fantasy from the creator of Devils’ Line, Ryo Hanada.”

By writers/artists Coffee, Ryo Hanada

The Winchester Mystery House: Hundred Year Curse

Image: Source Point PressImage: Source Point Press

“As the Winchester Mystery House celebrates its centennial, a young woman on a tour of the amazing mansion finds herself thrust into a supernatural experience that puts her in direct communication with the mansion itself, where she will learn the secret of the Hundred Year Curse. In this stand-alone one-shot comic, writer Joshua Werner and artist Damien Torres build upon The Winchester Mystery House comic book series based on the legendary mansion and inspired by true events.”

By writer Joshua Werner; artist/cover artist Damien Torres

25 Years of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Special

Image: Boom EntertainmentImage: Boom Entertainment

“What better way to celebrate 25 years of Buffy the Vampire Slayer than with a high school yearbook! This Free Comic Book Day special, in actual yearbook format, is a retrospective of your fan-favourite character moments from the past two decades. Celebrate the Chosen One(s), the Scoobies, and your faves through yearbook photos, vignettes, and plenty of jokes and lighthearted moments from an array of artists and writers.”

By writers Jeremy Lambert, Jordie Bellaire; artists Dan Mora, Marianna Ignazzi, Various; artist/cover artist Christa Miesner and various others.

Want more Gizmodo news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel and Star Wars releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about House of the Dragon and Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.