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Free Comic Book Day 2024: The Best Comics Not To Be Missed

Updated: May 7

We review this year's Free Comic Book Day selections and pick our three favorites.


Free Comic Book Day 2024 Best Comics

Top of the Hump is a new weekly column where we select our favorite comics of the week. This Saturday is Free Comic Book Day, the best day of the year, and we've found a few comics you can't afford to miss.

 

Tomorrow is Free Comic Book Day 2024, and we were lucky enough to receive several of this year's offerings ahead of time. Every store runs the annual event a little differently. In our area, most shops ask their customers to pick up to three comics from the Free selections. In that spirit, we've decided to name our three faves and explain why you might want to prioritize them when hitting up your LCS.


Most importantly, remember that Free Comic Book Day is more about supporting your local comic book store than getting free comics. It's not actually a customer appreciation day; it's a store appreciation day. This is your shop's biggest day of the year, and they'll be swarmed with new folks and regulars. Grab a free comic, but purchase some cool comics, too. We usually use the day to take chances, experiment with our tastes, and explore unfamiliar writers and artists. Your local comic sellers will undoubtedly have recommendations. Take them up on their recs.


Free Comic Book Day began more than twenty years ago. It's the creation of the California Bay Area shop Flying Colors Comics and Other Cool Stuff, owned and operated by Joe Field and Libby Field. As reported by The Mercury News, this year's Free Comic Book Day will be the last one in their current location. Joe and Libby Field have hope for the future but no firm plan yet.

Retail is hard, and it's only getting harder. If you love your shop as much as we love our shop, you have to support it. You might not even be enough. Free Comic Book Day is also an excellent opportunity to invite a comics-curious friend to your local store. Show them the wonders of comics, and tailor some books to their taste, not yours. Make another lifelong comic fanatic.


So, with all that in mind, let's pick our three favorite Free Comic Book Day selections. If you know us at all, they're probably not a surprise, but even knowing our biases, we're happy to report that these three titles over-delivered, which is too often a rarity with ad-full FCBD comics.

 

Free Comic Book Day 2024: Hellboy/Stranger Things

Free Comic Book Day Best Comics 2024 Hellboy
Image Credit © 2024 Dark Horse Comics

We're not really Stranger Things people. Sure, we've watched every single episode, but it's not a series that elicits big feelings from either of us for whatever reason. However, in the last several months, we've discovered great joy in the Stranger Things comics, specifically the recent crossover with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, illustrated by Fero Pe. That series unlocked something in us and revealed how the Stranger Things kids can truly travel through and celebrate our favorite genres and sub-genres when paired with the right artist.


Dear Creature and Green River Killer cartoonist Jonathan Case collaborates with writer Derek Fridolfs for the Free Comic Book Day issue. Case's style leans heavily into the show's sometimes Scooby Doo vibe. His monster design work doesn't quite align with the monsters we're used to on Stranger Things, but it makes for a terrifically liberating read.

The Hellboy story, "The Fortune Teller," by Mike Mignola and Márk Lászlo, is a little more expected as it's another one of those delicious flashback spook stories that litter Red's timeline. This time out, Hellboy investigates the death of a young woman who recently visited a psychic. Things get wild from there, once again warning a young Hellboy of his loud and furious future. It doesn't reinvent the wheel, but it's a damn pretty wheel.

 

Free Comic Book Day 2024: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Free Comic Book Day Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Image Credit © 2024 IDW Publishing

Last year, we called The Energon Universe "The Most Exciting Event in Comics." This year, the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles relaunch from Jason AaronJoëlle JonesRafael AlbuquerqueCliff Chiang, and Chris Burnham gets our vote. The recent Hollywood Reporter preview of issue one sealed the deal.


IDW Publishing's Free Comic Book Day selection doesn't delve into what Jason Aaron is cooking up, but it offers a great look at what Juni Ba and Fero Pe are crafting with their sibling series TMNT: Nightwatcher. We won't spoil what you'll find within the preview; just know that it makes a strong case that it is as much an event as the new solo series number one.


Juni Ba is one of our favorite comic creators. With his 2022 annual, he already created one of the best recent stories about the Brothers. Fero Pe makes an excellent partner for Ba, delivering hefty illustrations jammed with emotion and character. And yeah, he does Turtle action like a boss, providing an epic splash that shouldn't surprise anyone who read his Stranger Things crossover that we mentioned above.

The second TMNT story in the issue is much lighter in tone. It's "Splinter's Day Off," written by Paul Allor and illustrated by Andy Kuhn. The set-up you've seen before. The brothers get on each other's nerves while in the lair, which irritates Splinter, and he sends them out on patrol. More hijinks ensue, but these are potentially disastrous. We love Kuhn's Turtle designs, and we want more of them in our lives.

 

Free Comic Book Day 2024: Energon Universe Special

Free Comic Book Day Energon Universe 2024
Image Credit © 2024 Skybound Entertainment

Skybound's Energon Universe Special is everything you want in a Free Comic Book Day comic. It's meaty, with twenty-eight pages of story. No artist involved is rushing through this book, and the tales within not only tease but have a significant impact on the current titles.


The first story belongs to Transformers, written by Daniel Warren Johnson and illustrated by Ryan Ottley. Come on, that's really all you need to know. DWJ setting Ottley up for an all-out brawl comic featuring Optimus Prime and Megatron?! But here's the thing...there's so much more going on with this comic, and its last few pages had us howling with delight. Hot damn, we need the next Transformers issue asap.


The second story is from the Void Rivals saga by Robert Kirkman and Lorenzo De Felici. It might contain the biggest shock of the whole FCBD issue and already has us reaching back into our Hasbro lore. Meaning we immediately want to revisit a certain classic story from our youth.


The final story is GI Joe, baby! Writer Joshua Williamson and artist Jason Howard pick up where the Duke mini-series left off. And just as the other two Energon stories in this Special do, it promises something epic in our future while still delivering stand-alone badassery. Honestly, get yourself to the shop as soon as possible, and stay off the internet until you do. You don't want your social media to ruin this Energon Universe Special.

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