The first Saturday in May has arrived, which means, of course, that another Free Comic Book Day is upon us! FCBD is an event held across the nation that celebrates the comic book industry. Basically, a big “thank you” to fans and shops from comics publishers (and simultaneously a major marketing event for the industry), participating are sent pallets of comics––many made specifically for this event––for absolutely free.

For this event, my local comic book shop, Empire’s Comics Vault, has made it a huge gathering of fans, creators, and entertainment, and this year seems to be their biggest showing so far. As always, I’m honored to be included as a guest again, and––just as the shop goes all out for FCBD––I have tried to make it a unique and special event for Long John as well.

Featured guests include industry professionals Nick Dragotta (left), Ramon Villalobos (middle), and Justin Greenwood (right). Image sources Image Comics (left and right), Marvel Comics (middle).

Starting with the shop and its offerings, I will be among over a dozen local comickers and creatives selling their wares at the shop. This year brings with it industry professionals, too, with Nick Dragotta––artist for the hit Image Comics series, East of West––in attendance, as well as Ramon Villalobos––an artist who has worked for basically every major publisher––and Justin Greenwood––artist for the celebrated Image Comics title, The Last Siege leading the charge. Having major players like these fellows elevates the show even more, though its prestige was high already with the incredible gathering of local talent that comes to the show every year.

The show will also feature live professional wrestling courtesy of Supreme Pro Wrestling, cosplay, a charity raffle, face painting, food trucks, and much more. It will be going all day––doors open at 9am for the general populace––so be sure to come by at some point––it’s completely free!

As for me, I’ll be debuting a bunch of new prints for the show, divided between Long John-focused prints and some of the fanart I’ve been doing for Sketch Fridays over the years.

“The Johns Triptych” (top) and “Unmasked” (bottom) are debuting at this years FCBD.

For the Long John prints, I’ll be debuting the “The Johns Triptych”, and the “Unmasked” Hellrider Jackie print.

Furthermore, I’ve made some prints out of the hands-focused fanart I’ve done over the years. One is an updated version of the Crimson Peak tribute piece, followed by the recent Battle Angel drawing titled, “Beyond the Sky.” Lastly, I’ll be offering the print of the Captain Marvel tribute drawing for FREE while supplies last.

The fan art prints I’ll be bringing to FCBD.

Lastly, I’ll also be debuting a new freebie that has been in the works for awhile and I’m super excited to start bringing to shows (and is the mystery item I alluded to in the video): Long John coasters! They have an original design on the front and a blank back that I’ll reserve for making quick and small doodles for people coming by. I love how they turned out and I think they’re unique enough to get people excited to check out the table and the comic.

Boom. Imagine the backs as blank.

As always, I look forward to Free Comic Book Day as a chance to see some old friends, make some new ones, and––more than anything––celebrate not only comics but creativity and community. I hope to see you there on Saturday at Empire’s Comics Vault.