The most wonderful time of the year for comic lovers is almost here!

Free Comic Book Day is an annual event on the first Saturday of May where several exclusive comic books are given out for free at comic shops across North America.

It’s a great way to check out local shops, find new stories, meet new people, and get excited about London’s comic book community.

Henry Bartch as Kylo Ren and Amber Stallard (Ammie Cosplay) as Kylo Ren and Rey from Star Wars in London, ON
Henry Bartch as Kylo Ren and Amber Stallard (Ammie Cosplay) as Kylo Ren and Rey from Star Wars were just two of the many cosplayers at Free Comic Book Day in 2018.

If this is your first time attending, here are a couple of tips to make the most out of it before, after, and during the event.

Before: Prepare for the weather, get packing and plan your outfit

A lot of Free Comic Book Day activities take place indoors, but you’ll be outside for a while waiting in line and walking from shop to shop. Checking the weather should be your first step before heading out the door.

A bag or a backpack will also be handy. Your new comic collection will build quickly, and freebies like stickers and cards are often given out as well.

The lineup for Heroes Comics during Free Comic Book Day in London, ON.
Comfortable shoes will be your best friend while waiting in line

While you should reserve most of the space for your comics, be sure to bring snacks, water, money, and a camera. Include a donation for the London Food Bank if you stop by Heroes Comics. You’ll get two extra comics for every non-perishable food item and household item donated.

Whether you cosplay or simply sport a Star Wars t-shirt, wear whatever you want for the event. I recommend comfortable shoes, as you will be on your feet for most of the day.

During: Collect your comics, explore the city’s core, and eat some lunch

As you embark on your Free Comic Book Day journey, think about which places you want to visit. Heroes Comics, L.A. Mood Comics and Games, Worlds Away, Neo Tokyo, the Anime Store, and the London Public Library Central Branch are all participating.

Here’s a quest for you: visiting every establishment participating in London’s Free Comic Book Day and Comic Shop Crossover means you’re eligible to participate in a draw for a prize! Not to mention, more stores means more comics!

R2-D2 at Free Comic Book Day in 2018 in London, Ontario.
May the Fourth be with you! Since Free Comic Book Day is also Star Wars Day, you might see R2-D2

Take your time while deciding which comics to collect. Sometimes, the issue you thought you wouldn’t be able to get elsewhere is in every place you visit. Other times, the issue you think you might see elsewhere is only available at that one store.

Also, keep in mind you might not get the comic you want. There is always at least one highly coveted comic, and it’s usually out of stock by the early afternoon!

Don’t fret, though! You might find the comic you didn’t even know you need instead. Plus, you can visit the Free Comic Book Day website to look for the comics you’re yearning for about a week after the event.

There are other ways to celebrate the event in between grabbing comics.

A sidewalk sale outside of Heroes Comics during Free Comic Book Day in London, ON.
Don’t forget to check out the sales!

With cosplayers and lots of activities at Dundas Place, you will want to take as many photos as you can. Be sure to ask permission to take someone’s picture.

The comic shops usually have sales, so be sure to browse around while you’re at the store.

If you need a break in between comic hunting, stop for lunch. With plenty of delicious options in the downtown core, try an old favourite or something new.

After: Read the comics

Reading is always more fun than watching books collect dust, so be sure to read the comics after. If there’s any piece of my advice I need to take, it’s that one.

A pile of Free Comic Book Day Comics, with the She Hulk issue at the top.
Once you have all your comics, read them!

Whether you want to stock up on your summer reading or are looking for a fun way to enjoy your Saturday, check out Free Comic Book Day!

Free Comic Book Day is on May 4.

If you have any favourite Free Comic Book Day memories, share them in the comments.

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