Hulk/Venom, Star Wars, Assassin's Creed: Valhalla, and more lead Free Comic Book Day roster (but no DC)

Free Comic Book Day 2021 gold covers
(Image credit: Tokyopop)

The core titles of this year's Free Comic Book Day have been revealed. Like usual, it's a mixture of new comics and older comics aimed at getting new eyes on them. What's unusual about this year's FCBD core list is the absence of any DC comics (more on that in a bit).

Here are the 12 core 'gold' titles of the 2021 Free Comic Book Day, scheduled for August 14.

  • Hulk/ Venom #1 (Marvel Comics)
  • Lady Mechanika (Image Comics)
  • Enter The House Of Slaughter (Boom! Studios)
  • Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures (IDW Publishing)
  • Critical Role & The Witcher (Dark Horse Comics)
  • We Live: The Unknown Journey (AfterShock Comics)
  • Zom 100: Bucket List Of The Dead / Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba (Viz Media)
  • Investigators: Ants In Our P.A.N.T.S. Sneak Peek! (Macmillan/ First Second Books)
  • Archie: Past, Present & Future Fun! (Archie Comics)
  • Who Sparked The Montgomery Bus Boycott? (Penguin Workshop)
  • Blade Runner One-shot (Titan Comics)
  • Assassin's Creed: Valhalla & Dynasty (Tokyopop)

FCBD has provided a gallery of 11 of the 12 comics' covers, with Marvel's Hulk/Venom #1 the notable absence. Here they are:

Curiously, the Hulk/Venom #1 comic would fall just after the end of Donny Cates' landmark Venom run - and in the final days of Al Ewing's Immortal Hulk run.

"This year's lineup of titles has something for every kind of comic fan," says FCBD spokesperson Ashton Greenwood (who is also Diamond Comics Distributors' publicity & promotions associate). "We can't wait to once again share the FCBD experience with fans, especially on our landmark 20th anniversary! We hope fans will safely visit their local comic shops to celebrate and to pick up a few of the great titles available this year."

Free Comic Book Day traditional occurs the first Saturday in May, coinciding usually with a major Marvel Cinematic Universe movie. Black Widow is set for an early May debut, but due to COVID-19 the organizers of FCBD have decided to push this in-person event back to August 14. These free comic books will be available (while supplies last) at participating comic book shops - and be exclusive to these comic shops, meaning no bookstores or digital release for the time being.

Free Comic Book Day 2021 logo

(Image credit: Free Comic Book Day)

Speaking of organizers, the Free Comic Book Day event is organized by a committee of 20+ comic shop retailers led by the event's founder, Joe Field of California's Flying Colors Comic store. These core 'gold' books are all from publishers who have bought sponsorships in the annual event.

Missing from this FCBD 2021 list is DC - who has been a staple of the event (a 'gold' sponsor even) since its founding over a decade ago. Last year in the wake of the pandemic's onset, DC split with the primary US comics distributor Diamond in favor of new distribution alternatives. Since then, DC and Diamond worked out a deal for the distributor to resume non-North American comic book shop distribution of its comics, but as far as the US and Canada goes, the DC/Diamond relationship is no more -- which could, seemingly, affect DC's place in Free Comic Book Day.

And while Diamond doesn't own Free Comic Book Day, it does act as the distributor/facilitator for the event - marketing, distributing, and even sending out this announcement - the FCBD spokesperson is, as we mentioned, Diamond's primary spokesperson as well.

Although today's Free Comic Book Day 2021 announcement did not include DC in its list, DC on its own earlier announced that it would participate in some form with this year's event. 

Perhaps DC will be involved, but for the first time it's not as a 'gold' level sponsor/book. 

39 additional FCBD 2021 titles are scheduled to be announced on March 17, for a 51-book roster for this year's event.

Free comics are a gift - why not consider buying a gift for the comic fans in your life? We're here to help with our comic books gift guide.

Chris Arrant

Chris Arrant covered comic book news for Newsarama from 2003 to 2022 (and as editor/senior editor from 2015 to 2022) and has also written for USA Today, Life, Entertainment Weekly, Publisher's Weekly, Marvel Entertainment, TOKYOPOP, AdHouse Books, Cartoon Brew, Bleeding Cool, Comic Shop News, and CBR. He is the author of the book Modern: Masters Cliff Chiang, co-authored Art of Spider-Man Classic, and contributed to Dark Horse/Bedside Press' anthology Pros and (Comic) Cons. He has acted as a judge for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, the Harvey Awards, and the Stan Lee Awards. Chris is a member of the American Library Association's Graphic Novel & Comics Round Table. (He/him)