We are familiar now with publishers and comic book stores giving away free comic books on Free Comic Book Day.
But this year, on May the 6th, publisher Z2 Comics is including something unexpected.
With the release of their Free Comic Book Day title, The Ballad Of Franklin Bonisteel written by Gabe Soria and drawn by Warren Pleece they are giving away a new song by bluesman Robert Finley and Grammy-Award winner Dan Auerbach.
In every copy will be a link to a free, downloadable song performed by Finley and Auerbach, "In the Pines," the classic Leadbelly song which was also covered by Nirvana.
It will accompany a preview of an upcoming graphic novel Murder Ballads, by Gabe Sori, Paul Reinwand and Chris Hunt,
The full graphic novel will feature a downloadable original soundtrack by Dan Auerbach and Robert Finley, "In The Pines" will be from this soundtrack. And it marks the launch of a new way of publishing comic books from Z2, as Music Books – original soundtracks sold with a comic in drop box format, with each complementing the other to tell a complete story.
The title will receive publicity and visibility during live music performances, TV/radio appearances and resultant mainstream media coverage and aims to crossover audiences, to appeal to comic customers in receiving original music from a major artist, and to music customers receiving a high-quality original graphic novel.
And it's just the beginning.
Six more original graphic novels with original music from major, multi-platinum artists from Z2 Comics and Music Books are currently in development.
Dan Auerbach is the singer, guitarist and principal songwriter of the Grammy Award-winning blues-rock duo The Black Keys.
Robert Finley of Bernice, Louisiana, has been playing the guitar nearly all his life. At the age of 11, his father gave him some money to get new shoes – but Robert walked to town and bought a guitar instead. Robert returned to his music only recently after learning that he was going blind. A chance meeting while playing on the street with the founder of the Music Maker Relief Foundation led him to his first record deal and international tours.
Warren Pleece is a comic artist and graphic novelist with over twenty years of experience working for UK and US publishers, including 2000AD, DC Comics, Dark Horse Comics and many more.
Gabe Soria is the co-author of the graphic novel Life Sucks, published by First Second (2008). Life Sucks was picked for the American Library Association's "Great Graphic Novels for Teens" list in 2009. Gabe has written for Batman '66, Batman Adventures and Strange Sports Stories, and is the writer of the forthcoming "Regular Show" tie-in novel Fakespeare in the Park. His work as a music journalist has appeared in Mojo, the Guardian, the Oxford American, Blender and Arthur Magazine.