Celebrate Free Comic Book Day at Boston’s Top Comic Stores
In response to the rallying cry that “Information wants to be free,” comics icon Neil Gaiman once countered: “‘No, that’s pizza,’ I want to tell them. ‘Pizza wants to be free. Concentrate on liberating pizza from evil pizzerias. Information, on the other hand, really hates being free, and is never happier than when manacled to a wall, like Kirk and Spock in some piece of late ’70s bondage-oriented slash fiction.’”
But sometimes comic books want to be free. In fact, they want to be free at least once a year—for Free Comic Book Day, which is annually held the first Saturday in May. This year, comic shops all over the country are celebrating Free Comic Book Day 2015 on Saturday, May 2. Where can you get yours? Here are nine great comic shops in the Boston area.
The Comic Stop
Since 1996, Watertown’s Comic Stop has been pressing comics vintage and modern into the hands of fans old and new, and the place is noted for being especially kiddie-friendly. Plus, Magic: The Gathering aficionados will find cards aplenty here—it’s not quite mana from heaven, but close enough.
134A Main St., Watertown, 617-926-3430, thecomicstop.com.
By its very nature, much of the pleasure of reading comics is a solitary experience. But Davis Square’s Comicazi brings something very social to the mix, with regular comedy events, “Drink and Draw” sessions, game nights, and manga meetups—in 2013, they even hosted a “Not-the-Boston-Comic-Con” mini-convention when Boston Comic Con was cancelled in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings. Comicazi is also a primo destination for toys and action figures.
407 Highland Ave., Somerville, 617-666-2664, comicazi.com.
Along with Nuggets, Comicopia is one of the last gasps of weirdness in Kenmore Square. Thanks to a welcoming staff and a well-curated selection—with offerings running the gamut from mainstream capes-and-tights stuff to manga to fringier fare—it’s also a great place for the comics newb to get their first initiation into the world of sequential art. Keep an eye on their event calendar for upcoming guest appearances.
464 Commonwealth Ave., Ste. 13, Boston, 617-266-4266, comicopia.com.
A relative newcomer to the scene, Hub Comics tempts browsers with its inviting Union Square storefront and well-organized displays: Peruse shelves helpfully sorted by genre, with sections devoted to notable creators. Alongside the Alan Moores and Warren Ellises, you’ll find plenty of indie and local works as well.
19 Bow St., Somerville, 617-718-0987, hubcomics.com.
JP Comics and Games
Some of the things that make Jamaica Plain so beloved as a neighborhood—diverse population, eclectic tastes, low-key vibe—are the very things that make JP Comics and Games so beloved as a store, which has become a haven for JP geekdom. Inclusive and friendly, this is no place for haughty neckbeards; here, you’re as likely to be able to get recommendations from the patrons as you are from the staff.
603 Centre St., Jamaica Plain, 617-553-4247, jpcomicsandgames.com.
The Million Year Picnic
Spelunkers can spend hours riffling through the longboxes of this tiny subterranean shop. Too shy to ask for recommendations? Just eavesdrop a bit—between the knowledgeable staff and the passionate clientele, you’ll pick up all kinds of intriguing comics tidbits. Feeling brazen? Strike up a convo with a comics creator at one of their not-infrequent in-store appearances.
99 Mount Auburn St., Cambridge, 617-492-6763, themillionyearpicnic.com.
New England Comics
New England Comics doesn’t just sell comics—they are comics. In 1986, cartoonist Ben Edlund created The Tick as a mascot for NEC’s newsletter. More than three decades since their launch, this nigh-invulnerable eight-location chain (with outposts in Allston, Coolidge Corner, and Harvard Square) is still going strong.
Multiple locations, newenglandcomics.com.
Not too long ago, music reigned supreme at Newbury Comics, which has shifted gears a bit to become one of the city’s go-to sources of geek accoutrements. While more ardent collectors might find the pickings surprisingly slim for a store that has the word “comics” in its name, casual dabblers can enjoy flipping through their streamlined selection.
Multiple locations, newburycomics.com.
The Outer Limits
Even if you already consider Waltham “the outer limits” to begin with, hordes of local comics fans insist that this Moody Street store is well worth the trek. People talk about the place as if someone had stuffed a Comic Con into a Tardis: Catering to a staggeringly wide variety of tastes, the Outer Limits offers not just comics, but also collectibles, posters, and more.
437 Moody St., Waltham, 781-891-0444, eouterlimits.com.