The Bay Area has more comic shops than any other region of the United States. Within a 15-mile radius of San Francisco’s City Hall, there are no less than 14 stores pushing funny books on impressionable youth (and adults). Free Comic Book Day returns on May 5 and due to the close proximity of Bay Area stores, it’s possible to hit five or six in a single day (if you’re so inclined). That equals a lot of free comics. Here’s our guide on how to do Free Comic Book Day right in the Bay Area.
If you’ve never participated in Free Comic Book Day here’s a quick guide.
1. These comics aren’t free for the stores. They get them at low cost from publishers. If you do participate in FCBD don’t simply grab your free comics and run. Peruse the shelves and buy a couple of items. A good rule of thumb is one free floppy equals one paid floppy or three free floppies equals one trade paperback.
2. Most shops limit the number of comics you can pick up. But you live in the Bay Area so if you plan your day right by going to multiple stores you can pick up nearly every free comic being offered.
3. There’s usually a decent selection of FCBD books just for kids. Smart shops separate the titles into little kid and mature piles. Unless it’s late in the day and the shop is near closing time consider leaving those comics for kids.
4. The list of available free comics can be found on the FCBD website. Some stores go all in and other stores only order a few.
Below is a list of Bay Area comic shops which we’ve divided into two comic book trails. San Francisco is the San Francisco Comic Book Trail while Oakland and Berkeley make up the East Bay Comic Book Trail. We’ve included handy trail maps of each region in case you want to be a superhero and try to hit every shop. All of these stores are likely participating in FCBD in some capacity, but some haven’t specified on Facebook or websites. When possible we’ve listed any special events planned (signings, sales, special hours, etc.).
Last update: April 13, 2018
SAN FRANCISCO COMIC BOOK TRAIL
650 Irving St.
No events listed.
Comic Experience Outpost
2381 Ocean Ave.
No events listed. Typically open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
305 Divisadero St.
No events listed. Typically open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Isotope – The Comic Book Lounge
326 Fell St.
No events listed, but each year Isotope typically has a celebrity stockboy.
Mission: Comics & Art
2250 Mission Street
Open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The Mission Street comic shop makes children’s writing center 826 Valencia the focus of their FCBD fundraising.
Two Cats Comic Book Store
320 West Portal Ave
No events listed. Hours are typically 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
2275 Market Street
Confirmed Free Comic Book Day participant. Hours 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
EAST BAY COMIC BOOK TRAIL
Alameda Sports Cards and Comics
1515 Webster Street
Free Comic Book Day participant. Hours 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Cape and Cowl Comics
1601 Clay Street
Cape and Cowl goes all out to make Free Comic Book Day a community event. Here are the details for this year:
Just like last year, we are teaming up with Sacred Tattoo Oakland on a food drive for the Alameda County Community Food Bank!
– Bring any non-perishable food donation and get DOUBLE the number of free comics!
– Bring $40 worth of non-perishable food donation (with receipt) and get QUADRUPLE the number of free comics AND A FREE TATTOO from the amazing artists over at Sacred!
Below is a video they made last year.
Dr. Comics and Mr. Games
4014 Piedmont Ave.
No event listed but Dr. Comics typically makes FCBD a weekend long event with robust sales and offers. Hours 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
3090 Claremont Ave.
Berkeley’s Escapist Comics has a solid day of guests plotted out. Customers can expect to meet Nick Dragotta (East of West), Justin Greenwood (Stumptown, Fuse), and Ramon Villalobos (Nighthawk). In addition to the free comics nearly everything in the store will be on sale.
2026 Shattuck Ave.
Fantastic will feature sketches by local artists, cosplayers, and photo ops with the 501st Stormtrooper division. Open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Flying Colors and Other Cool Stuff
2980 Treat Blvd.
Hours 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Miryam & Jane’s The Comic Shop
14837 Washington Avenue
San Leandro, CA
Stand Up Comics
10020 San Pablo Ave.
El Cerrito, CA
Treasure Island Comics
5018 Mowry Ave
Hours 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
191 E H Street
Hours 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.