September 25 has been designated as National Comic Book Day by, well, no one is really quite sure. However the unofficial holiday came about, it's become second only to Free Comic Book Day as a time for comic book aficionados and neophytes to hit their local libraries, retailers, websites or simply revisit an old favorite or two from their collections. Since the unsanctioned celebration has only been around for a short period, it’s taken many comic book retailers and companies longer to warm up to it.
This year, though, many companies, including the Big Two have coming on board. In honor of National Comic Book Day, Marvel decided to offer comic readers and greenhorns alike a huge digital bundle.
Fans looking to catch up on the latest titles from the House of Ideas, as well as those who’ve watched the movies but weren’t sure where to start, are in luck. Marvel announced via their Twitter that they’d be releasing five of some of the most popular and enjoyable titles from their latest All-New All-Different run, saying: “Happy #NationalComicBookDay, True Believers! Celebrate with some FREE digital comics on us.” Take a look at their tweet below:
— Marvel Entertainment (@Marvel) September 25, 2016
Included in the combo are Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur (2015) #1, All-New Ghost Rider (2014) #1 (appropriate for Robbie Reyes new role on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Power Man and Iron Fist (2015) #1, best-seller Black Panther (2015) #1, and of course Doctor Strange (2015) #1, just in time for his cinematic debut. True believers and the comic-curious can head to Marvel’s website, set up a free account, and use the code COMICDAY to pick up a sizeable bundle of sequential art. The promotion is a great way to enjoy the modern incarnation of the art form, as well as turning on new fans to the company's offerings.
Digital comics are a great way to expose new people to the art form, and also translate beautifully into portable devices like tablets and smartphones for fans who often read on the go. As one of the few industries to fare well both digitally and in print, comic books have enjoyed a true renaissance in recent years. Between the rise of the comic book movie and the industry’s subsequent ‘rebirth’ (pun intended) in recent years, the sequential art world is finally getting well-earned respect. Comics-related properties are also generating billions of dollars in sales – between movies, print and digital formats, toys, and general merchandise. National Comic Book Day may not be an official holiday, but the four-color world and its reinvention truly deserves an day all its own.
The best part is that the medium's success has translated across the whole of the four-color world. Increased sales across the board has given smaller houses like IDW, BOOM!, Dark Horse, and Image a chance to expose a whole new generation to the storytelling power of comics. In addition, web comics and indie presses have expanded in recent years, adding a breadth and depth to the industry it hasn’t seen since the pre-bubble burst in the late 80s and early 90s. It’s great that people around the world are truly recognizing the potential of comics.