Free Comic Book Day started as a way to promote western comics to the uninitiated. It’s a chance to pick up an interesting title for free that (hopefully) represents what the title is about and stir up some interest in new readers. In the last few years manga publishers have been joining in with their own samplers. This year, Viz Media has two to check out. Pokemon Pocket Comics are short strips with a lot of humor and not necessarily a lot of words, so it’s perfect for the young and/or emerging reader. Older Readers wondering what Japanese superheroes look like can pick up the Shonen Jump Sampler which features One-Punch Man and My Hero Academia. Get there early as these books tend to go fast!
One of the advantages to digital manga is exactly this; being able to quickly and easily sample titles. Sampler packs were one of the things I really looked forward to picking up at SDCC. All the manga publishers would have them, though supplies could be limited, so it was best to get them on the first or second day. Even my kids, who really are manga readers would grab one for the ride on the shuttle back to the car or hotel. This new pack from Viz only features shonen titles, but not only do they offer the first chapters of some of their most popular titles, it previews the next big chapters in the stories, such as after time jumps in One Piece and Naruto, and a new story arc in Bleach. While I do like this sampler pack, I hope Viz will do one for Shojo as well.