It’s Free Comic Book Day, an annual promotional effort by the North American comic book industry to attract new readers to independent comic book stores. Every year over two thousand participating stores give away millions of comic books! And it’s no coincidence that so many superhero movies premiere around this time in May every year. What better way to celebrate and promote superhero culture than with a great new movie and a free comic book? In honor of this unique holiday, come and explore some of our favorite superheroes here at Bookstr!
Batman, DC Comics
Batman is the best superhero ever. Point blank, period. That’s why so many people want to be him for Halloween and why there are so many adaptations or appearances of him. As young as 5 years old, I LOVED Batman: The Animated Series with Kevin Conroy as the voice. This love only grew when Christian Bale became the Dark Knight in the Nolan Trilogy.
He’s more than a hero. He’s a man who suffers from trauma yet has enough strength to challenge those feelings to fight crime. It’s also worth mentioning Batman is not perfect. He makes mistakes because, at the end of the day, he’s human. He’s the darkness that is within all of us, but he is also the light that brings justice to the forefront.
- Sierra Jackson, Editorial
Superman, DC Comics
I honestly can’t even tell you when I first came to know about Superman. I have memories of being around 4/5 years old when I sat in front of the television watching shows such as Superman: The Animated Series, Krypto the Superdog, and even Justice League Unlimited.
Both of my parents were huge fans of Superman and I suppose you can say I was a fan of his before I learned to talk in full sentences. It wasn’t until later in middle school, when my dad handed me this hardcover book called Kingdom Come which showed a photo of Superman but in a much darker scenario, that I read a ‘novel’ about him. That would be the first graphic novel that I read and to this day, I still have it with me on my shelf.
As I came to know other superheroes in the DC and the Marvel Universe growing up, I still acknowledge Superman as my all-time favorite hero. Not because he could fly or because he had superhuman strength but simply because he has been there for me since I was born.
- Jaiden Cruz, Graphics
Captain America (played by Chris Evans in the MCU), Marvel Comics/Disney
While Steve Rogers/Captain America wasn’t my initial favorite superhero when I began watching the MCU movies, I came to appreciate his character arc throughout the films. Rogers starts his journey as someone who understands what it’s like to be the underdog, and when he suddenly becomes powerful, he knows to use his newfound gifts for good instead of seeking retribution. Captain America could easily have become just another one-dimensional classic hero that stands as a pillar of goodness, but he grows more complex when the question of who are truly the “good guys” becomes murky.
Called to think for himself, Rogers must do what he believes is right, even when the entire world is against him. While Captain America initially stood as a glamorized figure of American propaganda, his evolution and self-actualization beyond his title can be viewed as a metaphor for a nation with cracks in its foundation. We know that the cracks are there, and while some may want to keep them hidden, others are determined to patch them up and repair what was broken.
Chris Evans is brilliant as Cap in the films, and the character’s bravery, resilience, and devotion to his loved ones and ideals resonate with me, which is why I find him so compelling.
- Cara Hadden, Editorial
Squirrel Girl, Marvel Comics
Squirrel Girl is a uniquely weird and goofy comic hero. Her stories are funny, lighthearted, and cute. I really like her in contrast to the dark and gritty superheroes that have sometimes become more popular and considered more “serious” art. Tony Stark needed an army and to die to defeat Thanos—she did it all on her own off-screen! She’s a girl with all the powers of a squirrel—what more could you ask for?
In an age of comics where they are highly commercialized to make movies, Squirrel Girl strikes me as completely unique to her medium. I don’t think the MCU will ever make a Squirrel Girl series, and that’s everything I love about her. She’s one of the goofiest, weirdest comic book characters to exist, and that’s something you can only get from comics. Check out The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl comic book series to see her in action!
- Helen, Graphics
Bucky Barnes, MCU/Marvel Comics
Any singular person that knows me knows my obsession with Bucky Barnes. Was it heavily influenced by my unhealthy infatuation with Sebastian Stan? Possibly, but it grew into something so much bigger than that. While I do adore Sebastian’s portrayal of the character, I don’t think we quite appreciate how multifaceted Bucky is.
He’s a POW. He was brainwashed by a truly evil organization and labeled a traitor and enemy of the state. But he’s also still that playboy from the ’40s who’s trying to learn how to be a free man. I think that the cinematic version of Bucky, as compared to the comic version, is a healthy deviation. However, if they harm my baby in Thunderbolts I can and will cause absolute CHAOS.
- Gracie Lambright, Editorial
Red Hood, DC Comics
I have many superheroes that I could list for this, but I’ve decided to give a spotlight to my favorite of the four main Robins in DC Comics and that is none other than Jason Todd/Red Hood. Jason has a very interesting backstory of being a very aggressive Robin compared to Dick Grayson before him and more prone to violence than Batman was comfortable with.
After being murdered by The Joker and returning as the Red Hood, Jason struggles to find his own place in his family and the DC Universe overall. He ends up finding a weird found family in both incarnations of this Red Hood and the Outlaws teammates and I want to see Jason thrive and succeed in finding his own identity.
- Brock Mackinnis, Editorial
Plastic Man, DC Comics
Growing up, I was never the type to immerse myself in the world of comic books. This was mostly due to a lack of access to comics and, thus, no early exposure to the superhero genre. As a result, it should mean something when I say that Plastic Man, aka Patrick O’Brian, stands out to me from the rest of the enormous cast of characters. You would think someone with the properties of plastic as his gimmick would be fairly unimaginative or, dare I say, even lame.
However, this could not be further from the case. From O’Brian’s start as a small-time criminal to his drastic transformation into the heroic wonder of awe-inspiring shapeshifting powers, the concept of Plastic Man as this nigh-indestructible, highly malleable, and incredibly powerful superhero who can take the form of anything and anyone could give even the likes of Kryptonians a run for their money. Do I even need to mention those iconic goggles? Man’s got style.
- Edward Berdnik, Editorial
For some comic book suggestions, click here!
More on Free Comic Book Day can be found here!