Every year, the first Saturday in May is Free Comic Book Day. On this day, participating comic book retailers offer free comics supplied by Diamond Comic Distributors in an effort to encourage visiting your LCS, attracting new fans, and creating an event where specials are to be had and cosplay is abound. But why only one day?
This October 31st, the 4th annual Halloween ComicFest returns to participating comic book retailers. Similar to Free Comic Book Day, this year Diamond will be offering up to 21 different titles (13 regular sized issues and 8 mini-comics). These giveaways are Halloween or horror themed comics free for the taking! Most comic shops are likely to have costume contests (Halloween and/or cosplay) and possibly even character appearances. Halloween ComicFest spokesperson Deborah Moreland had this to say about the event,
“This year, Halloween ComicFest gets spookier as it’s celebrated on Halloween, allowing comic shops to really bring out their ‘fun and scary’ side. Comic shops are already a great destination for new comics and pop-culture related items, but now new and current customers can see the great Halloween and horror comics and merchandise that local comic shops have to offer. With awesome Halloween ComicFest events hosted in stores, cool mini-comic polypacks available for purchase, and the return of “The Greatest Halloween Costume Contest” on the Halloweencomicfest.com website, Halloween ComicFest is the perfect Halloween celebration for kids and adults to enjoy this October!”
As Deborah mentioned, retailers will be offering 25-packs of HCF mini-comics (available now for pre-order) for purchase to hand out for your trick-or-treaters. See the mini comics being offered this year below.
(W) Vito Delsante & Various (A) Ray-Anthony Height, Sean Izaakse (CA) Ray-Anthony Height & Various
ACTIONVERSE DEBUTS! Get a peek at the Creator Owned event of the year that everyone will be talking about from Action Lab…ACTIONVERSE! Action Lab ties its Creator Owned Superhero Properties together in a universe shattering event never before attempted by a comic publisher. Preview the Midnight Tiger, Molly Danger and Stray crossover, get the who’s who on all the Major Heroes and Villains and a special first look at our new series, ACTION LAB: DOG OF WONDER!
(W) Jason Martin, Dan Mendoza (A) Winston Young (CA) Winston Young, Dan Mendoza
Get a look at the latest offbeat genre heroine from Danger Zone…VAMPBLADE! After appearing in the pages of Zombie Tramp and then guest starring in a limited series with the queen of the undead, the mystical blade wielding Vampblade is all set to debut her own ongoing series in 2016! Here’s your chance to see what the book is all about and also take a peek at Zombie Tramp and friends!
Halloween ComicFest 2015: Chilling Adventures of SabrinaScript: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa art: Robert Hack, Jack Morelli Cover: Robert Hack, Rosario “Tito” Peña
There’s no better way to kick off your Halloween than with Archie Comics’ newest horror series. Terror is born anew in this dark reimagining of Sabrina the Teenage Witch’s origin. On the eve of her sixteenth birthday, the young sorceress finds herself at a crossroads, having to choose between an unearthly destiny and her mortal boyfriend, Harvey. But a foe from her family’s past has arrived in Greendale, Madame Satan, and she has her own deadly agenda. Relive all the horror with this special black and white presentation of the critically-acclaimed first issue. For TEEN+ readers.
A pulse-pounding Psycho Bonkers action-adventure story for fans of all ages! Join the cast of this completely brand new full throttle series along with Fathom’s Ernie the Seahorse, and characters from many of Aspen’s most popular titles as they team up to win a thrilling, issue-spanning race! Aspen Comics’ is excited to once again offer fans and readers a unique comic and coloring book package that includes a crafted full length story geared for kids to color, plus added puzzles, mazes and other fun-filled activities for children and readers of all ages! It’s the perfect treat for the Halloween holiday!
Shigeru Mizuki’s The Birth of Kitaro tells the spooky origin story of the legendary mangaka’s most popular character. This preview is taken from the golden era of the late 1960s, when Kitaro truly hit its stride as an all-ages supernatural series. Mizuki’s Kitaro is both timelessly relevant and undeniably influential, inspiring a decades-long boom in stories about yokai, Japanese ghosts and monsters. This Halloween Special is the perfect introduction to the new all-ages Kitaro series coming in 2016 from D&Q!
(W) Stan Lee & Various (A) Jeevan Kang, Various (CA) Jeevan Kang
Straight from the Free Comic Book Day release and based on the animated shorts seen on Angry Birds ToonsTV with over 30 Million views worldwide, Chakra the Invincible is the latest superhero from legendary creator, Stan Lee. Join Chakra and his friends for a very special Halloween as Dr. Singh sits you down by the campfire and tells you about some of Chakra’s most sinister villains and spookiest adventures!
Classic Disney haunts are home for the howl-iday! In “It’s In the Bag” and “Public Ugly #1,” trick-or-treating Donald scares up a literal ton of candy… then is forced to get rid of it by fair means or foul!
Doctor Strange embarks on the most important investigation of his career, as he sets out to solve an attempted murder – his own! And with his best friend near death, Stephen Strange turns to an unexpected corner of the Marvel Universe to recruit a new ally!
(W) Joe Caramagna, Jim Zub (A) Ron Lim, Mario Del (CA) Kalman Andrasofszky
When Peter Parker has a terrible day, he discovers that none other than Nightmare is behind it! But how can the Ultimate Spider-Man defeat a foe that’s inside his own head? Guest-starring Doctor Strange! Then the Avengers take on their spookiest mission yet when they travel to Castle Doom to face Dracula! And if that’s not enough, Dracula’s brought a horde of bloodthirsty vampires with him!
An old wooden mansion that turns on its inhabitants. A dissection class with a most unusual subject. A funeral where the dead are definitely not laid to rest. Ranging from the terrifying to the comedic, from the erotic to the loathsome, these stories showcase Junji Ito’s long-awaited return to the world of horror.
Inspired by Tales from the Crypt and Creepshow, Zenescope goes back to its roots of horror for this special Halloween Comic Fest reprint of Grimm Tales of Terror #2! When a group of treasure hunters heads to the Amazon in search of the priceless Spider King relic, they will find that the “Web of Deceit” they’ve spun has put them in a horrifying predicament!
This year’s Halloween ComicFest free Mini comic books:
Olive, a curious butcher’s apprentice, decides to crash a monster’s party on Halloween Eve. Disguised as a goofy vampire alpaca, she meets an equally goofy vampire horse named Vourdain. But what is Olive going to do when it’s morning and time for all monsters to unmask?
Cory loves monsters. He dresses up in monster suits and reads monster magazines, much to the chagrin of his mother, who would rather he be working in a mailroom. But when Cory learns about his hero Wilbur Atchison’s studio tours, he suddenly sees an opportunity for greatness! But he soon finds out that not all of Hollywood is make believe. An all-ages adventure in the spirit of The Goonies and Monster Squad!
(W) George Gladir (A) Rich Koslowski, Fernando Ruiz (CA) Bill Galvan, Bob Smith
Strange things are going on in Riverdale! You’re invited to the best Halloween party of the year – exclusively for monsters! Is it possible that Archie and Jughead have really stumbled into a Halloween party where the guests are not in costume, but are actual, real-live monsters?! Find out for yourself if this tale is a ‘trick’ or a ‘treat’ in “For Monsters Only!”
Enjoy three, spooky tales for your reading pleasure in this BOOM! Studios Halloween Special, featuring short stories from Adventure Time, Steven Universe, and Lumberjanes. Perfect for passing out on Halloween instead of/in addition to candy!
The Volcano Goddess threatens the Mama Woogees’ tiny island! What can their creation Grimmiss do to stop this terror? Between an eye exam, a tough lesson in love, and stopping the Tiki Monoliths, there are lots of things for a little guy with a skull head to do!
Happy Halloween from Skylands! Enjoy this special comic treat as we introduce you to the candy villainy of Pain-Yatta! This issue reprints a special selection from the Skylanders: Light in the Dark storyline featured in Skylanders Volume 4 coming next month!
(W) Cornelia Funke, Raul Garcia (A/CA) Francisco Herrera
Some Hollywood Horror stories are true! Based on best-selling YA author Cornelia Funke’s “Little Werewolf”, comic artist Francisco Herrera (Venom, Megamind) and Disney Animator Raúl García (Aladdin, The Lion King) bring you a fun new short story and activities set in the world of the upcoming graphic novel, Bitten!”
Nate Adams is just an average kid until the mysterious Whisper gives him a device that allows him to see what others cannot, Yo-kai of all shapes and forms! Now, armed with the Yo-kai Watch, Nate, Whisper and their new invisible friends embark on an all-new supernatural adventure!
Jason Bennett is PopCultHQ's senior editor, a contributing writer, and comic book reviewer/reporter. He is a big lover of coffee, cats, cooking and comics (plus all things Green Lantern). He is a strong supporter of indie comics, creators, and publishers and Chris Hardwick is his spirit animal (we don't know how to respond to that). Follow Jason on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: @TahoeJBennett