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: May 3, 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.
“Along with our amazing special guest star Nidhi Chanani of PASHMINA fame, we are thrilled to announce one of our most beloved cartoonists, Katie Longua!
“Katie will be sketching and signing her beautiful MUNCHIES comics and mind-blowing HER SPACE OPERA comic / record from 11am until 1pm!”
Open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Mission: Comics & Art
2250 Mission Street
Open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
20% OFF All Graphic Novels, Books, Back Issues, Toys and Games.
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
Whatever… has moved to a new space! Check it out. 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.
“It’s that time of the year: Free Comic Book Day is right around the corner! To celebrate, on top of a huge selection of free comics, we’re offering a progressive discount on a huge selection of hardcover books.
“Joining us are special guest cosplayers Roxanna Meta (@RoxannaMeta) and Tallest Silver (@TallestSilver), not to mention face painting by Alana Dill (@Alanapaints youbecomeart.com)!
“And as a reminder, we’ll be opening at 11AM on Saturday, May 5 to give us some time for setup. But fear not, we’ll have plenty of comics to hand out all day long. Sleep in, have a nice leisurely breakfast and/or cup of coffee, then stop by for your free comics. We’ll be here.”
Select hardcover discount special:
1 book = 15% off
2-3 books = 25% off
4 books = 50% off
5+ books = $5 each
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.
Come by the store to take advantage of all-day STORE-WIDE SALES, show up in your favorite COSPLAY, get your picture taken with members of the 501st LEGION, participate in a raffle to benefit THE HERO INITIATIVE and pick up a bag of specially produced FREE COMICS!
Free comics are first come first serve and our doors open at 10AM.
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.