Are you ready for some free comics? I certainly hope so, since May 2nd is Free Comic Book Day all across the country. There are dozens and dozens of offerings, but we know exactly which ones you need to make sure you pick up tomorrow. One warning: Once you read these, the chances of you wanting to buy more comics is high indeed.


SINGLE ISSUES

Tales of Honor

Are you a fan of scifi in general or David Weber’s Honor Harrington novels in specific? Or do you just love really, really solid writing and excellent art? Well, all these are great reasons for picking up this special Honor one-shot from Top Cow. In it, Honor battles a group of space pirates who happen to have a bevy of hostages on board — including a cousin of the royal family.

Secret Wars #0

Marvel has two offerings this FCBD: the All-New All-Different Avengers preview and this one, which is the one you should get. As a #0 issue, it won’t be necessary to read it to understand Secret Wars #1 when it comes out, but it’s still a better read — plus it included that Avengers Vs. Attack on Titan manga special as well.

And Then Emily Was Gone

This unbelievably creepy comic from Comix Tribe is hard to describe; imagine if H.P. Lovecraft wrote children’s stories, and you’ll come close to this story about abducted children, and the policeman who investigates their disappearance only to discover a very real monster is the culprit — a monster that reality has no hold over.

Super Mutant Magic Academy/Step Aide, Pops

Take Hogwarts, the young X-Men, basic teenage angst and identity issues, the ennui of Peanuts, and an extra dose of strangeness, then you have a shadow of an idea of what Jillian Tamaki’s Super Mutant Magic Academy is like. The hit webcomic has been collected in a collection coming soon, and it’s one of my favorite comics of the entire year already — definitely give this a try. Plus, there’s a Kate Beaton collection on the flip side!

Hip Hop Family Tree Three-in-One

We already listed Hip Hop Family Tree as one of 2014’s best comics. If for some reason you’re still unconvinced, all I can tell you I that Ed Piskor somehow tells the history of hip hop through the lens of classic ‘70s and ‘80s superhero comics, and the results are both amazing and brilliant. Here’s the proof. This huge sampler includes tales of Grandmaster Flash, Run DMC, and an art gallery it should almost be illegal to give you for free.

The Tick

Whether you’re a fan of the original comic, the cartoon, or the live-action TV series, you’ll be delighted to see the Big Blue Bug of Justice back to his bizarre, twisted best in these two stories from New England Comics. In the first, the Tick is haunted by the ghost of his first sidekick — maybe — and then Tick’s unconscious body has an adventure of its own. Good stuff.


SAMPLERS

Divergence

DC’s FCBD offering contains a preview of the new, mecha suit-wearing Batman, Superman’s life after Lois Lane outs his secret identity to the world, and a prologue to the Justice League’s next big story arc, the Darkseid War. The Justice League preview is solid but not absolutely necessary and the Superman story is very strange, but I guarantee the Bat-preview contains the biggest twist of Free Comic Book Day.

Dark Circle Comics

Dark Circle is Archie’s mature superhero comics line, and if somehow the idea of Archie doing “grown-up” comics puts you off, then you’re missing out. Grab this and its sample of The Black Hood #1, a vigilante noir that will absolutely knock your socks off.

Valiant 25th Anniversary Special

We’ve spoken to you many times about how the relunched Valiant has been making some of the uniformly best superhero comics on the market, and here’s proof. It includes previews of Jeff Lemire’s Bloodshot Reborn and Matt Kindt’s Ninjak, and these brief looks are better than most entire first issues coming out nowadays.

Dark Horse, Featuring Fight Club 2

This collection contains a preview of the long-awaited comic sequel to Chuck Palahniuk’s novel (and the hit movie), a fantastic-as-usual tale from The Goon, and a basically incomprehensible preview of the upcoming comic adaptation of Guillermo del Toro’s The Strain. But I’m assuming I had you with “Fight Club 2 preview” anyways.

Comics Festival 2015

This collection of Canadian and other international comics artists is chock full of goodness, beginning with the inestimable Kate Beaton, Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang’s fabulous “IRL: CON/GAME,” a Superhero Girl story from Faith Evan Hicks, and so much more. If you consider yourself a comics fan more than just a superhero fan, this is an absolute must.

Boom Studios 10-Year Celebration

You’re not going to find a better value than Boom’s FCBD sampler, which includes parts of their hit comics for all ages, including Lumberjanes, Adventure Time, Labyrinth, Help Us! Great Warrior and many more. Yes, it’s free like all the other comics here, but you know what I mean.

Dark Horse, Featuring The Last Airbender

Dark Horse’s second collection is more kid-friendly, with a little Plants Vs. Zombies one-shot and a fun Avatar: The Last Airbender story about Ty Lee’s many (many) sisters. But the real draw is Bandette, Paul Tobin’s gorgeous, unbelievably fun tale of a young French thief which will charm the cash out of your wallet (so you buy more issues, you see).

Kodansha, Featuring Attack on Titan

If for some reason you’ve not checked out the hit manga about a world under siege by man-eating giants, well, here’s your chance to do so for free. And if you’re already a Titan fan, then pick this up for Inuyashiki, a story about an elderly man dying of cancer who is transformed by aliens in a creepy new series by the creator of Gantz.


KIDS

Scooby-Doo Team-Up #1/Teen Titans Go

What happens when rainbow-colored ghosts haunt the Hall of Justice? Well, the Scooby Gang stops by to help the Super Friends, and it’s way more fun that it should be. I don’t want to spoil one of FCBD’s best offerings, but I will say some uncannily brilliant cosplay is involved. The Teen Titans Go special on the other side is fun, too.

Cleopatra in Space

A young Cleopatra — yes, that Cleopatra — is whisked away from ancient Egypt to a future full of talking cats, aliens, spaceships, and decidedly Egyptian influences. But young Cleo is also the only one who can save the Nile galaxy from Octavion and the Xerx empire in this beautifully, fun comic b Mike Maihack. Seriously, it needs to be an animated series like, yesterday.

Thanatos Diver/The Stuff of Legend

Thi3rd World’s offering might be easy to gloss over, but you’re only cheating yourself if you do. Thanatos Diver is about a young girl exploring a post-apocalyptic world that’s mostly been covered in water, and is both charming and instantly captivating. As for The Stuff of Legend, it’s about toys who come to life to find their human friend, stolen by the Boogeyman. Imagine Toy Story mashed-up with Alien and Saving Private Ryan, and you have the right idea.


Contact the author at rob@io9.com.