Hugh Jackman, star of The Wolverine, stars in a video message supporting Free Comic Book Day 2013.
(USA TODAY) It's a huge nerd weekend coming up, with the release of Iron Man 3 and Star Wars Day but also because it's comic-book fans' favorite day: Free Comic Book Day.
Readers young and old, hard-cores and newbies, will flock to comic shops all over the country to read a slew of free books, and this year's Free Comic Book Day is bigger than ever: More than 4.6 million comics will be given away on Saturday, according to Diamond Comics Distributors. (To find a complete list of comics and where to find them, visit FreeComicBookDay.com.)
There is a huge amount of titles to choose from, so here is a trusty guide to some of the free comics in order to figure out what might best suit particular pop-culture tastes:
If you enjoy...
Iron Man 3
Try: Infinity. Marvel Comics teases its next big event in a special preview issue starring big, bad space villain Thanos and the Avengers blasting off to save the universe, and it's a good cosmic primer for the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy film.
Try: Ramayan 3392 AD. The Graphic India selection has warriors, monsters, noble apes and love in short stories by Ron Marz, Jim Starlin, Bart Sears, David Petersen and Michael Avon Oeming, plus a sneak peek at Grant Morrison's animated series 18 Days, based on myths from the Mahabharata.
Elmo and Big Bird
Try: Sesame Street. Ape Entertainment launches its line of comics starring the longtime educational characters with a tale featuring Cookie Monster, Super Grover and others teaching children about the wonders of comics. Stick around for a few adventures with Strawberry Shortcake in the same issue, too.
Try: Kaboom! Summer Blast. The quirky Finn and Jake appear in a "choose your own Adventure Time" story alongside kid-friendly tales from Regular Show, Peanuts, Garfield and Ice Age.
Man of Steel
Try: Superman: Last Son of Krypton. To get you prepped for the new with Henry Cavill as the iconic superhero, DC Comics offers a snippet of a classic Man of Steel story by Superman movie director Richard Donner and Geoff Johns, in addition to a preview of Scott Snyder and Jim Lee's new Superman Unchained.
Try: NFL Rush Zone. Action Labs showcases a sci-fi trip to the "Rush Zone," inhabited by blitz bots and cool mascots based on NFL teams. (The little 49er guy from San Francisco is worth the pickup alone.) The book also features a preview of the upcoming fantasy series Skyward.
Try: DC Nation Super Sampler and Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. Some of the big-screen flicks with Batman, Thor and others may be a bit intense for the really small tykes. So DC and Marvel bring their animation to the page in a couple of instances for Free Comic Book Day - DC with an issue featuring Beware the Batman and Teen Titans Go!, and Marvel previewing the new summer cartoons S.M.A.S.H.(premiering Aug. 11) and Avengers Assemble (with a one-hour special May 26 before the July 7 debut).
Try: A new short story featuring the little bounty hunter Boyd Linney of the Eisner-nominated Cow Boyis a highlight of Archaia's FCBD issue. It also includes a Mouse Guard tale by David Petersen, the jet-packed youngster of Royden Lepp's Rust and a look at two comics coming next year: Jim Henson's Labyrinth and Bolivar, about a girl and her neighbor, the last living dinosaur.
Try: Dark Horse's Star Wars special. Brian Wood has a hit with his new Star Warscomic, and he regales readers with a neat little story featuring the Sith lord, Boba Fett and an armada of TIE Fighters. Also in the adventurous mood: a tale of Captain Midnight, who stars in an upcoming Dark Horse series.
Try: The Walking Dead and FUBAR specials. The Walking Dead is kind of an obvious choice here, with the popular TV series debuting the fan-favorite characters Michonne and the Governor - the stars of a Robert Kirkman story for FCBD. But for something completely different, give FUBAR a spin. The indie horror takes the undead and throws them into historical situations, such as attacking George Washington at Valley Forge and rising from downed Nazi planes in World War II-era London.
Oz: The Great and Powerful
Try: The Steam Engines of Oz. It seems everyone and their little dog, too, has their own take on the mythology of The Wizard of Oz. Arcana Comics adds gears, gadgets and other steampunk aspects to Emerald City with this issue, a glimpse of things to come in the company's Steampunk Originals line of comics and graphic novels.
Old-school Mission: Impossible and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. reruns
Try: The Strangers. Oni Press is giving away Chris Roberson and Scott Kowalchuk's new series for free, and those with an eye toward ginchy 1960s culture will dig this group of secret operatives out to keep the globe safe from strange goings-on.
Enigmatic bad guys
Try: The Red Ten. Comix Tribe is giving out the zero issue of its superhero take on Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None that features Oxymoron, a brutal masked villain who first takes out the superheroine Red and then, one by one, the team formed to capture him.
Milla Jovovich action movies
Try: Aphrodite IX. Those who list Ultraviolet and the Resident Evil franchise on their list of favorite films will like the world of Aphrodite, a female android with green hair and lipstick who is programmed for various undercover missions and assassinations.
Try: Valiant 2013, Worlds of Aspen 2013, Top Shelf Kids Club and Endangered Weapon B and the Tentacles of Doom. Free Comic Book Day is a great time for comic-book publishers to get their new stuff out in front of a wide audience. Valiant Comics is previewing their big event Harbinger Wars as well as the new series Quantum & Woody in their selection. Aspen Comics is spotlighting its female-centric books like the cyperpunk Bubble Gun and sci-fi Overtaken. The little ones will like the various Owly, Korgi, Johnny Boo and Pirate Penguin vs. Ninja Chicken stories from Top Shelf. And the British company AAM/Markosia brings a few interesting properties to this side of the pond, with Endangered Weapon's aging professor on a quest, the intriguing 1940s sci-fi of Project Luna 1947, horror tale The Case Files of Harlan Falk, and Hero 9 to 5, a class-warfare superhero story.
Brian Truitt, USA TODAY