Free Comic Book Day is this Saturday and I’m super excited to bring my son and see which comics we come home with! In my years going to Free Comic Book Day, I’ve come up with a couple of tips – most of these for parents, but great for anyone attending that day.

Tip #1: Visit your local comic store ahead of time to scope it out and see how they’ll be celebrating.

Some stores only let each person have a limited amount of comics. Some stores will have contests for kids dressing up like superheroes. Some stores will allow visitors to line up early, some won’t. Some will have day-of deals you can take advantage of. Go scope out your local shop and see how they’ll be celebrating. Ask if there’s anything you need to know. The staff will be more than happy to let you know about their plans and day-of deals.

Tip #2: Bring cash even though it’s FREE Comic Book Day!

A lot of comic shops plan to have artists and writers in-store for Free Comic Book Day to do sketches and sign issues of comics they’ve written or drawn. And sometimes, they charge for sketches and autographs. So, after scoping out your local shop and seeing that they’ll have talent there that day doing sketches, you know you’ll need cash (since very few of them will be able to take credit cards at their table). If you can bring some small bills, it’ll help seed some change in the talents’ boxes too, since you know everyone will be using $20 bills.

Tip #3: Support your local shop by buying something.

Your local comic shop is a small business. A small business that has to purchase the comic stock they receive for Free Comic Book Day. So, if you just cruise through and suck up the free comics and disappear, you’re not helping that business stay alive to make it to the next Free Comic Book Day. Many stores will be doing deals on back issues, books, toys and other collectibles. And while you don’t need to buy the $250 Iron Man statue they’ve got on display, you should pick up a couple of other comics or a board game while you’re there. The shop is putting on a cool event for you and giving you something for free – say thank you by supporting them!

Free Comic Book Day

See? Deals! Guests! Raffles! (Image courtesy of Arsenal Comics & Games)

Tip #4: Dress up!

Sure, this isn’t Comic-Con, but if you’ve got a cool costume you wore for Halloween, wear it on Free Comic Book Day. But keep in mind that aisles might be slimmer than usual in the store, so if you have a comic-perfect Doctor Octopus costume, maybe you should choose a different one for Free Comic Book Day. I saw a dude come dressed up as a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle and people in line wanted to take pictures with him. Imagine how cool it’d be if your kid got asked to take photos with other customers that day!


A post shared by Zach Rosenberg (@zjrosenberg) on

I…uhhhh…didn’t dress up.

Tip #5: Get ready for a line.

This is the most popular day for comics, so you’ll be sharing the event with 100 of your closest friends. Since you’ve scoped out the store, you know what time they’ll open. Plan to be there at least an hour early just in case. Some stores will have games and raffles going on while you’re in line, but since you’re dressed up, just have fun instagramming superhero poses with your kid in line. And remember to tag the store!

Tip #6: Don’t make today the day you ask an employee which comic you or your kid might like.

I know I told you to buy something, but don’t make Free Comic Book Day the day that you ask employees what comics you or your kid might like. They’re busy and unless someone says “hey can I help you find something,” employees are probably restocking the free comics, watching for theft and helping to ring folks up. Go scope out the store today and ask which comics you or your children might like based on your interests. Do the research now so that on Free Comic Book Day, you can swing through the line and be in and out of the madness without holding up the rest of the folks.

And most of all – have fun, everyone! Free Comic Book Day is a magical day where you get somethin’ for nothin’. Go grab some rad comics and read with your kids!

Do you go to Free Comic Book Day with your kid(s)? What tips do you have for other readers?