Today is Free Comic Book Day - what's that you say? Well, every first Saturday in May they give away Free Comics at your local Comic Book store. NOT every store participates, but I'd say a good 90% of them do. Basically the deal is this, the comic book companies produce specific comics to promote their upcoming series, then the stores buy them at a very very reduced rate and just give them away to customers. MOST stores will limit you to a few books per person so that everyone gets some, and that's fine. I go to multiple stores to make sure I get everything that I want.
FBCD was started in 2002 to coincide with the original Spider-Man movie. The idea came from a column and then was championed by Mark Silvestri then of Image Comics. 12 years later they're STILL going strong. Every year brings something fun that you didn't even know existed. Two years ago Archaia Entertainment gave away a free Hardcover Anthology that included the uber-popular Mouse-Guard, and the first original comics based on Jim Henson's Labyrinth. They didn't do that last year but they did again this year, and the Labryinth story is utterly charming.
SOME of the free comics end up being worth quite a bit too...for example, the Scott Pilgrim free issue from 2010 has sold recently on eBay for up to $20. The Sixth Gun from Oni Press also sells for about that much, and a reprint of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from a couple years ago is in that range as well.
Some companies use the opportunity to create "yearly series" - like Bongo Comics - publishers of The Simpsons and Futurama. The late Michael Turner's company Aspen has produced a book each and every year as well. Marvel and DC usually use the day to promote whatever their big Summer Crossover is going to be, though this year Marvel went all Guardians of the Galaxy and DC only did one book for their next New 52 series.
Even during lean times when I wasn't really collecting comics, I'd go to FCBD and drag my wife and daughter along with just because more bodies equals more free comics. At this point it's probably easier to figure out what I didn't get than what I did, though in going through the list I did miss a bunch. Oh well, nothing too dramatic though, nothing that I'll miss.