If you consider yourself a comic book buff, someone who knows the classics, the superheroes, the anti-heroes, the anti-superheroes, and the whole multiverse of complicated, fascinating characters, you've likely uttered the following words to a friend at some point: "I know the best shop..."
Or "you've gotta hit my favorite store" or "I've got a place for you." Because loving comics is also loving the places where you buy comics, the colorful, jam-packed spots that are typically staffed by comic fans with an encyclopedic knowledge of titles, artists, and authors, and a desire to share what they know.
Enter Free Comic Book Day.
What to do, where to go and what to see
Yes, Free Comic Book Day, as the name 100% suggests, is about the procuring of free comic books from your local go-to comics emporium, but, like Record Store Day, it spotlights and loves up local stores, whether they sport a single aisle of comics-filled racks or half a warehouse of graphic novels.
The 2017 Free Comic Book Day is on Saturday, May 6, and chances that your beloved fan-run shop will be doing something are as solid as a villain forming his hands into tent fingers as he hatches a maniacal plot.
So what comics will be handed out, gratis? And which one will you score?
There's a load of "depends" atop that answer. It depends upon the shop you visit, and what they have, and what they have left, and all of that good and easy-to-predict stuff.
But, if you're curious, here's the line-up of Gold and Silver comic books for Free Comic Book Day 2017. You won't receive them all in one fell swoop, but one, and probably a great one at that. Maybe two? Manage your expectations but, of course, dream big.
The shops very frequently have some other holiday-fizzy hubbub going on, like special deals or readings or similar, so you might check in with your favorite location if you want to know ahead of time.
Or just show up, and feel the thrill of surprise.
On the Free Comic Book Day shop list for Southern California? Golden Apple, which has a big sale listed for May 6, Meltdown Comics & Collectibles, Blastoff Comics, and several others. Check here just to be doubly-triply-super sure your store is on board for the big event.
And continue recommending that shop to other comic book lovers. After all, word-of-mouth-y recs are the lifeblood of a local enterprise, or, at least, a source of profound energy, much like Captain American grew stronger thanks to the Super-Soldier serum and Spider-Man derived his powers from the bite of an irradiated, extra-bitey arachnid.