The internet can be an awesome place to find free stuff, especially if you’re an avid reader. For those who can’t get enough of comic books, I’m letting you in one a secret: not only are there DOZENS of websites that offer free comics online to your heart’s content, some comic book stores also give away free copies of comic books (and even have them shipped to your house every now and then).
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You just need to know when, where and how to get first dibs.
How to Get Free Copies of Comic Books
The most popular way to get free comics is by joining the ‘Free Comic Book Day’ program of your favorite comic book store.
Free Comic Book Day
Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) is the biggest event in the comic book industry. Held every first Saturday of May, FCBD is a single day when participating comic book specialty shops across North America and around the world give away comic books absolutely free.
The idea came from California-based comics retailer Joe Field who wrote about the event in his “Big Picture” column in the August 2001 issue of Comics & Games Retailer magazine. The next year, the event actually happened with the help of the comic book industry’s largest distributor, Diamond Comic Distributors.
Today, Free Comic Book Day is celebrated not just in North America but also around the world. At least 50 titles are given away each year, most of which are over 30 pages long and are produced specifically for the FCBD event.
Here are some important info you need to know about Free Comic Book Day:
- About 2,500 comic book stores participate in the event. (Check the link to find the one nearest you)
- Participating retailers also combine their own promotions into the annual event.
- Titles are chosen by Diamond Comic Distributors and a panel from comic book retailers, publishers, and suppliers.
- You are guaranteed to receive at least 1 comic book at a participating comic book store. However, the number of comic books you can get after the first one would depend on store policy.
- Traditionally, people get free comic books only in-store, but since 2020’s covid, some stores have decided to ship free comic books straight to customer’s homes as well.
Make sure to check comicshoplocator site as well. Sometimes, small comic book retailers may not be officially included in the FCBD list but still giveaway free comic books locally.
Free Comics Giveaways and Promos
Aside from FCBD, you can also get free comic books on the following events:
- Independent comic book artist launch
- Launch anniversary of comic book stores
- Thanksgiving/Black Friday Sale
- Release dates of movies (usually if the film originated in comics from Marvel, DC, etc.)
- Halloween (many comic book stores give away free toys or free comic books as their trick-or-treat freebies)
- Ordinary holidays like Christmas, Valentine’s Day and so on
- Funko Pop! events (Toy stores that carry Funko’s often include relevant, free comic books as promotions)
Of course, follow comic book publishers directly, so you’re up-to-date whenever they do giveaways. These include the BIG two publishers:
- Marvel Comics – The company also has a monthly subscription option if you wish to read their entire collection of comics online.
- DC Comics – The home of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, this company lists all its new comics up on the website (including where you could buy them both digitally and in print). You can find issues new and old releases under the “Free to Read” section of DC Universe Infinite.
10 Sites Where You Can Read Unlimited Free Comics Online
If you want to read free comics online anytime and anywhere you are, these sites are free for all.
- Dark Horse Comics – This is another famous comic book publisher, competing against DC and Marvel Comics. Dark Horse is home to many creator-owned series like “The Umbrella Academy,” “Sin City,” “Hellboy” and many more. You can also find licensed brands like “Predator,” and “Star Wars” here. I like that the site carries Cuphead. You can read your favorite titles via the app or desktop for as low as $1.99, or subscribe for monthly digital titles. You can also try it out and read free comics online on this page.
- Image Comics – Read the first issues of dozens of Image Comics titles here. This graphic novel and comic book publisher has been around since 1992 and it showcases creator-owned series like “Saga,” “Wild C.A.T.S.,” “Witchblade,” “Sex Criminals,” and “Criminal,” among others.
- Amazon Kindle Store – Not all the comic book titles are free, but the freebie library is still pretty massive and includes many famous characters.
- Comixology – This Amazon company is a paid comic book subscription, but also has a bunch of free comics like Black Panther, and The Walking Dead.
- Barnes & Noble – Like Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes & Noble also has the Nook ebook catalog that includes both free and paid ebooks. If you’re into manga, check out the free graphic novels available on this page.
- READallCOMICS – This is a comic book website where you can “read all comics” absolutely free. I love that all old and new comic book titles are laid out for you.
- DriveThru Comics – DriveThru Comics has hundreds of titles on its catalog. They are not ALL free, but the free titles are worth checking out. I like that the selections here are more underrated and aren’t as similar as other popular sites on this list. You can read some of the comic books and “pay what you want.”
- View Comics – Read hundreds of comic books for all ages. You can find kid-friendly titles like My Little Pony to titles for older ages like Stephen King’s American Vampire.
- Go Comics – This well-lit comic book website has everything from the likes of Bill Watterson and Gary Larson, but the site doesn’t have your superhero Marvel/DC comics like other sites.
- Digital Comic Museum – If you’re looking for free comics online that are copyright-free and in the public domain, such as “Green Hornet,” “Speed Comics 006,” “Daredevil 001,” and “Billy the Kid,” you have to bookmark the Digital Comic Museum. (BONUS: If you love old-school comic books, also check out Comic Book Plus and Elf Quest.)
Other Ways to Find Free Comics Online
I’m a fan of artists and their projects. If you wish to get first dibs on a new comic book title from new or already-established comic book creators, you should watch out for their Kickstarter campaigns. No, these are not FREE, but they are usually super low-priced.
Do you know of other ways you can read free comics online? What experiences did you have with Free Comic Book Day? I’d love to know!