Free Comic Book Day has become an important annual awareness event and comic shop sales opportunity since its inception back in 2002, but this year's is already shaping up to be its biggest yet. Diamond Comics Distribution is reporting that more than 4.6 million comics have been ordered in anticipation of the 12th annual event on May 4, a substantial new record for the program.The 4.6 million order is up substantially from 2012, when retailers ordered 3.5 million comics for FCBD. The additional 1.1 million copies of comic books ordered this year could reflect a rapidly growing awareness of both FCBD and comic stores in general. That the annual event is usually tied to increasingly popular superhero blockbusters doesn't hurt either (The Avengers in 2012, Iron Man 3 this year).

The positive FCBD ordering trend seems like it could be a good sign for comics this spring. From a personal standpoint, I've worked in a comic shop over the past several Free Comic Book Day events, and the excitement on comic fans' faces, young and old, is a reminder of how much enjoyment fans can get not only from the brick-and-mortar experience, but most importantly from discovering comics in general.

Free Comic Book Day is on May 4, and you can prepare (in part) by checking out CA's previous rundowns of the day's Gold and Silver books that will be available at participating retailers and specialty shops.

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