Since 2002, the first Saturday in May has marked the arrival of Free Comic Book Day, an annual event organized by Diamond Comics Distributors to help direct-market retailers attract potential readers (especially kids) who may not otherwise engage with the community through comic shops. Every major publisher, along with a host of smaller presses, offers up free exclusive one-shots, previews and samplers to entice readers back to shops the following Wednesday. (Retailers do pay for the free comics, so it’s always appreciated if attendees pick up something else while they’re there.)
Harrow County #1 Halloween ComicFest 2016 Cover Art by Tyler Crook
This Saturday, October 29th, Halloween ComicFest extends the concept into the spookiest season of the year, providing a sugar-free, literacy-enriching alternative to trick-or-treating. This year’s offerings scare up everything from a very adult preview of upcoming Junji Ito reissue Tomie to an all-ages Mickey Mouse take on Dante’s Inferno. Attendees at participating shops can also snatch up free looks at Marvel’s The Haunted Mansion, a reprint of Dark Horse’s rural-horror breakout Harrow County #1 with a gorgeous new Tyler Crook cover and a Dynamite Grumpy Cat tale featuring the sour puss in Jason Voorhees drag.
Grump Cat Halloween ComicFest 2016 Mini-Comic Pack Cover Art by Steve Uy
In addition to the standard full-sized comics, Halloween ComicFest 2016 includes a selection of mini-comics specifically designed with kids in mind and perfect for Halloween handouts. The mini-comics are available free on the day of the event, and people can purchase additional packs of 25 for trick-or-treaters for $5.00. To find your nearest participating store, peruse the full list of available comics and get details on the annual costume contest, visit halloweencomicfest.com.
Afterlife with Archie Halloween ComicFest 2016 Cover Art by Francesco Francavilla