Here’s what indie comic shops in Portland are doing for Free Comic Book Day

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Free Comic Book Day is almost upon us once more. This year it falls on Saturday, May 6.

For those not in the know, Free Comic Book Day is exactly as it sounds: a day for free comic books. Not just any, of course. Publishers and imprints make a variety of comics available, often starring some of your favorite characters in one-off stories or the number one to an upcoming series.

In Portland, we’re lucky to have a veritable playground of comic shops that offer everything from the big two (Marvel and DC Comics) to comics and zines from indie creators about life, death and quite literally everything in between.

Not to mention all the comic creators, illustrators and writers that live in or around the city. Lots of shops celebrate FCBD differently, but if you’re looking for a place to stop by on May 6, you don’t have to look further than these indie shops:

BOOKS WITH PICTURES

1401 S.E. Division St.

10 a.m.–11 p.m. (extended hours)

Books With Pictures bills itself as being aggressively inclusive, and it holds up to that promise. Not only is it owned by a queer woman, it is one of the last remaining shops that has masked hours for the immunocompromised. It carries your superhero comics while also having a much-expanded LGBTQ+ section. It will be having an all-day event on May 6.

Signings throughout the day will include Charlie Jane Anders, writer of “New Mutants: Lethal Legion” and co-creator of “Escapade”; and Becky Cloonan, creator of “Batgirls,” “The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys,” a spin-off comic based on alter-ego personas of the popular emo band My Chemical Romance.

There will be comics trivia, live music and a queer makers market.

7 p.m. – 11 p.m.: Dance Dance: These are the lives you love to [read], a pun from the lyrics of a Fall Out Boy song, is the title of a pop-punk themed dance. Masks will be required inside the shop and encouraged outside due to the number of people that will be attending.

COMIC CAVE PDX

1924 N. Kilpatrick St.

10 a.m.-5 p.m. (extended hours)

Comic Cave PDX won’t be hosting a signing, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth a stop. Owner Doug O’Loughlin runs the shop as a community-fixture. He’ll be making, as he has been, donations to the local Kenton library and purchases made will aid that.

He also will have a $1 comic bin for a sidewalk sale (weather permitting). If you’re a back issue hunter, Comic Cave is the place for you, and the back issue bins will be sorted and ready for picking through on May 6, or you can just drop by, say hi and pick up your FCBD issues.

COMICS COTTAGE PDX

Southeast 56th Avenue and Rhone Street

9 a.m.–while supplies last

Comics Cottage is not a store, but a Sidewalk Joy spot located at Southeast 56th Avenue and Rhone Street run by a former librarian who loves all forms of sequential art. It’s one of many places in the area that you can stop at a little sidewalk exhibit to admire or take and swap things. Comics Cottage offers free, well, comics, among other nerd adjacent things. On FCBD, Comics Cottage is handing out free DIY comics kits to anyone who stops by. They won’t have the FCBD comics to give out but it’s a great neighborhood spot that is fostering community and creativity that you should check out if you can!

COSMIC MONKEY COMICS

5335 N.W. Sandy Blvd.

10 a.m.–7 p.m.

Cosmic Monkey is a shop so big you could find yourself wandering around it most of the day. It’s got a great selection of new comics and back issues. On FCBD it will host several local comics professionals, a sidewalk sale (weather permitting) and will allow for five free comics per person. Local talent will be there to sign comics including:

10 a.m.-12 p.m.: Kota & Gen Aoki, two kid brothers who are the creators of the comic “Turtle Boy.” A comic about kids, by kids, for kids (and everyone).

Jack Rudo Maraglia who creates “Stapled Spine” a zine that has an undeniable punk DIY vibe.

John Burkett creator of “Feral Star”

12-1 p.m.: Joshua Williamson writer of “Superman (2023)” and “Green Arrow”

12-2 p.m.: Aaron Duran author of “Season of the Bruja” which you can read more about here!

2-4 p.m.: Aaron Humphres, author and artist of “Rosco: Alien Wildlife Photographer”

Rodney Lockett, the creator and owner of Iron Gate Comics.

EXCALIBUR COMICS

2444 SE Hawthorne Boulevard

10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Excalibur is Portland’s oldest comic shop and it is much beloved. It’s always worth a stop into the father-daughter owned shop. Excalibur said the free comics will go until they’re gone, but you can stop by for a signing. You can also grab all your weeklies when you pop in!

10 a.m.-12 p.m.: Lee Moyer, Aaron McConnell and Drew Kafoury of Battle Quest Comics, which is a publisher of YA action/adventure comics.

FLOATING WORLD COMICS

1223 Lloyd Center

11 a.m.-7 p.m.

Floating World Comics sets itself apart from other shops in Portland for its (meaning its owner Jason Leivian’s) unique eye for incredible indie comics, art books, and love of sequential art in all its forms, not just comics. FWC publishes their own comics too, so you can find all sorts of gems from their imprint. And yes, you can still pick up your weeklies there. FWC will have book signings as well.

1-3 p.m.: Casey Gilly writer of “Buffy” and “Eat the Rich” will not only be signing book but also hosting a Buffy costume contest with prizes. If you come in a Buffy cosplay you will receive a raffle ticket for a prize brought by Gilly.

Jason Fischer-Kouhi, author and illustrator of “Terra Flats” will be doing comic book caricatures too.

ROSE CITY COMICS

3725 N. Mississippi Ave.

11 a.m.-8 p.m.

Rose City Comics was formerly Bridge City Comics and is now under new management. Former employee Donna Herrick purchased the shop from its previous owner and opened under the name Rose City Comics in June 2022. While it’s not doing anything specific for FCBD, it could be a great choice for someone who is looking to pick up their free comics and talk with knowledgeable staff while being in a shop that is run by a queer woman and promotes itself as a safe space for all comics nerds.

TASTEE CAT COMICS

2621 S.E. Clinton St.

9 a.m.-7 p.m. (extended hours)

Tasteecat Comics (formerly Cloud 9) will be debuting its new signage and merch featuring its new logo on FCBD. It will be opening early with a sale on everything in the store. While the discounts on everything from comics and graphic novels to Pokémon cards and Funko Pops will vary by item, everything will be on sale.

There will also be a sidewalk/street sale with half off graphic novels that aren’t normally available for customers to buy, according to owner Ken Dyber. There will also be cheap bulk options on back issues of comics for people looking to grow their collections.

– Destiny Johnson | [email protected] | @hello_destiny

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