©Ted Naifeh, Courtney Crumrin and the Night Things FCBD edition, May 2003
Tomorrow is Free Comic Book Day - wherein, on the first Saturday of May, comic book stores across North America do their part to spread love and appreciation of comic books/graphic novels by giving away selected free issues to anyone who comes into their stores. The annual event is geared toward expanding readership by introducing people to comics (generally) and by introducing comic readers to new titles. This is a wonderful event - one that I have benefitted from enormously in previous years, through free issues introducing me to indie comics/titles (including my beloved Courtney Crumrin, as depicted above), different distributors, titles I had heard of but never taken a chance on, etc., etc. Check out the official website for the locations of participating stores near you.
And if you're into it, I definitely recommend:
a) making a day of it, by doing a comic book store "crawl" (different stores will be giving away different titles, so visit as many as you can)
b) GETTING THERE EARLY!!!! (seriously, even less popular locations can sell out fast)
c) while you're there, don't be afraid to ask the clerks for recommendations about other (non-free) titles that may be of interest - these people generally know A LOT about comics and graphic novels and Free Comic Book Day presents the perfect opportunity to get in there, break the ice, and get some advice.
d) a good way to try out additional (non-free) new titles while you're there, without spending too much money, is to buy some back issues - although a small few titles gain in value over time, many many DO NOT - if you're willing to delve into an older (not 1st, but older) issue, they're often available at a fraction of the cost of a most recent issue
I'm sure there's a lot more I could list here, but these are some good basic starting points.