Guys, it’s May, and that means two AWESOME things are happening this weekend!

First, this Saturday, the 5th, is FREE COMIC BOOK DAY.  Yes, this is a day where you can go to a comic book store and GET FREE COMICS. Good ones, too! And there’s lots of stuff for all ages (I’ve already been tasked with picking up stuff for my favorite four-year-old, who sadly will be out of town and can’t enjoy the festivities).

This is a great chance to sample new titles, see what publishers are up to, and visit and support local businesses. Publishers really put a lot of effort into these free books to entice new readers, and most stores will let you take a LOT of different titles, so it’s really worth checking out. I guarantee everyone will find at least one thing they’ll like (though I’m particularly excited about the Mouse Guard one and the Moomin Color Special). The official FCBD site has information on what will be available and a list of participating stores. I’ll be helping out at Chapel Hill Comics early in the day, so come by and say hi!

And in other exciting comic book news for this weekend, THE AVENGERS movie finally opens up! One of my friends hosted a Marvel Movie Marathon last weekend and we watched all five movies (Iron Man, Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, and Captain America) to get ready. (I strongly believe that Captain America is the best, but am willing to entertain arguments to the contrary.)

So I am pretty pumped. And I’m hopeful that, besides being a special effects sensation, it will have a nice story and strong characters too. Joss Whedon, of Buffy and other fame, wrote and directed, so I don’t think my hopes are in vain. And there should be some pretty nifty girl butt-kicking, if his legacy is anything to go by. (YES, I am disappointed that there’s only one girl Avenger in this movie —where’s Carol Danvers or Jessica Jones?— but since it’s the culmination of, like, 5 years of Marvel storytelling, I can see that inserting brand-new characters at this point would be hard to swallow and hard on the writers, who have to integrate all the current characters and their storylines into one coherent movie. Unlike this parenthetical comment, which is anything but.)

At this point you’d probably like me to tell you which comics to read before seeing the movie (or after seeing the movie), but I’m actually little help in this regard. Superhero movies rarely get their stories from one specific title, and tie-in books tend to be pretty blah. My favorite Avengers book is actually Brian Michael Bendis’ Alias, featuring Jessica Jones, a former Avenger (who was kind of a paltry superhero) now turned private eye. But a lot of the Avengers make cameos in the story, and some of the current Avengers story arcs are rooted in the events of Alias.

A pilot for a TV show (with a different title, since there’s already been a show called Alias with a girl kicking butt) was shot, but I haven’t seen word yet on whether it’ll air this fall. I hope it does—Jessica Jones rocks! Though keep in mind–Alias is strictly for mature readers.  The art is kind of late-90s (ie, not my preferred style at all), but the story is GREAT.

Anyway, yes, this is a great weekend to be a comic book nerd, and I hope you all will join me in celebrating!