Free Comic Book Day is here once again. The annual event, which began in May of 2002, has been going strong for 21 years now. Every year, various publishers from the biggest of the big like Marvel, DC, and Image to smaller outfits like Arcana and Oni, publish comics just for the special day. Most go with new material, while others put out reprints or previews of soon to be released comics and graphic novels.
Marvel and DC get the vast majority of the FCBD news coverage, and if you’re going to a shop on Free Comic Book Day, chances are those will be the ones they ordered the most. You don’t need to hear about this year’s Spider-Man and Venom comic (Didn’t we just get a Spider-Man and Venom comic last Free Comic Book Day? We did.) So we’re not going to focus on those, and instead present to you five comics you don’t want to let pass you by on Free Comic Book Day 2023!
1. The Umbrella Academy & The Witcher (Dark Horse)
New Umbrella Academy content! The Umbrella Academy made its first appearance on Free Comic Book Day in 2007, in a preview comic of their first limited series The Apocalypse Suite by series creators Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá. Whether you’ve been reading since the beginning or just recently got into The Umbrella Academy thanks to its Netflix show, this issue is for you. It’s Dark Horse’s gold level book, so hopefully your local comic shop orders a bunch.
2. Archie Horror Presents: The Cursed Library (Archie Comics)
In the Archie Horrorverse, Lil’ Jinx has been reimagined as Jinx Holliday, a local babysitter with a connection to the macabre. This FCBD one-shot reprints stories from previous Archie Horror one-shots, along with a brand-new story by Magdalene Visaggio and Craig Cermak, and promises to connect Jinx to the cause of all the horrific happenings in Riverdale. Speaking of which, when will we see Jinx Holiday in Riverdale?
3. Kotto Kotorra (Arcana)
At first glance, someone seeing the cover for Kotto Kotorra might think it’s a Disney reprint. But no, it’s all new material by Kotto’s creator David Alvarez, as well as Sean Patrick O’Reilly. Kotto is a Puerto Rican who runs an empanada food truck. There’s a preview of the book up on the Free Comic Book Day site, and it looks like a lot of fun.
4. Conan: The Barbarian (Titan)
The comic adventures of Conan The Barbarian have seen many publishers over the decades, including a successful recent stint at Marvel where he was a member of The Savage Avengers. The Cimmerian is now at Titan, and this weekend’s Free Comic Book Day one-shot is readers’ first look at what the publisher has planned for him. Veteran comics writer Jim Zub wrote the all-new story here, with art by Roberto De La Torre and Jose Villarubia. It looks like a cool adventure comic. Check out an unlettered preview of the series’ first issue, due out in July, here.
5. Shadowman: Darque Legacy (Valiant)
Shadowman and Darque have been inseparable since the original Valiant Comics 1.0 iterations of the characters. Here we’re getting a Shadowman vs Darque story featuring the current Shadowman, but written and drawn by the creator most associated with the classic ’90s Shadowman, Bob Hall. On top of that, the issue includes an X-O Manowar story by Becky Cloonan, Michael W. Conrad and Liam Sharp.
Seriously, do not sleep on these comics! Shadowman and Kotto Kotorra are both Silver level comics, which means many stores will likely not be ordering these in large numbers, so make sure to get your local comic shop early so that you can grab all of these comics before they run out. Have a happy Free Comic Book Day!